After The Flood...
To say that the flooding from 2 weeks ago was truly unprecedented is quite an understatement. So many have lost homes, vehicles and businesses while others have lost nothing. While the tragedy has been extremely severe for so many people, there have also been some bright spots:
- Tireless efforts of law enforcement and rescue professionals going above and beyond, often having suffered loss themselves
- The Cajun Navy
- Hospitality of friends, family and strangers
- Volunteer groups assembling to help with demolition
- Churches helping members and their communities
It seems that when "Mother Nature" throws her worst at us, we come together and display our best human virtues of generosity, compassion and service to one another. Now what? There is now so much more work than we have contractors and craftsmen. I had a contractor tell me he estimates he turned down $500K in business in one day just because he does not have the capacity to do the work. Some businesses stand to make a lot in a short time just replacing physical possessions people and businesses have lost.
On the other hand, businesses in other industries may be wondering how they will be able to survive. Regardless, the best next step for a business owner is to create a plan to follow. You may have a disaster recovery plan, and that’s great. You may have no plan and that’s ok – just recognize you need one. You will always do better following a plan than flying by the seat of your pants.
Begin with gratitude. It could have been worse – a lot worse. Next, with a blank canvas, develop a vision for your future. My grandmother, who had seen a lot of adversity during her lifetime, was famous for saying, "This too shall pass." Look past the immediate "to-dos" to paint that picture of what you want your future to look like. Describe that picture. Write it down in bullet point form. Only after you know where you are headed can you begin to envision a set of concrete actions or goals that you can put into place to achieve that vision in a stepwise fashion. Include in that vision how you might avoid a re-occurrence in the next natural disaster. Next, know that you don’t have to do this alone. There are other business owners who care about giving back to their community and helping one another solve issues (problems & opportunities) particular to business owners. At The Alternative Board, you will find such a group of business owners who want to help and to be helped. Because they have no agenda with respect to your business, other than to see you be successful, you can be sure that the advice you receive is candid and objective.
Finally, take some time out to serve someone else. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own problems and situations. When you pick your head up and look around, you will see others, plenty of others, who have it even worse and who need your help.
Tim Stoll, Owner, TAB Metro Baton Rouge