You Can’t Do Life, or Business, Without Plan B

You know Plan B. Plan B is your go-to option when what you thought would work, didn’t.

It’s the answer to the question, “What will you do when life gets in the way?”

I was reminded of Plan B last week when, after days of internet problems due to some new construction in the area, the internet was finally stable, and I had taken a very relieved deep breath and settled into a nice big project online….

…When BAM! Down went the internet again! Only this time the outage was caused by some workers next door digging up the edge of the neighbor’s garden, and slicing our underground internet wiring in two. Poof! And it wasn’t like they could fix it! Of course not! (Not to mention how rude they were about the whole thing – another story for another day…. )

You can imagine what came next. Since the outage was caused by a crew that was digging, who had not gotten permission to dig (which I’ve since learned is against the law!), there was absolutely no hurry on the part of our internet service provider to fix it. It wasn’t their fault, and we were only one customer. They had other bigger outages affecting many more customers to attend to. When I phoned, they said they would put us on the schedule for next Wednesday…. WHAT? OMG!

So… what next? When you work from home, and when 90 percent of your work, including use of your business phone, is internet-access-dependent you MUST have a Plan B!

And I did. This isn’t my first internet-outage rodeo.

I fired up the Mobile Hotspot on my cell phone, my computer connected to it, and we were off and running…. except that my mobile data plan is somewhat limited, so it could be only a temporary fix. Eventually my husband (the saint!) went off to the hardware store, brought home a “Cat-5” cable and connected the outside boxes – and it worked perfectly. Since then, my service provider came by, fixed the whole thing, and now they are taking it up with the crew that sliced the wire to begin with.

But what would I have done without Plan B?

Let’s return to that definition I provided at the beginning of this post. Plan B is the answer to the question, “What will you do when life gets in the way?”

None of us ever wants to think we’ll need a Plan B. But we all know from experience that Plan B is called upon way too frequently, in ways big and small.

  • The bride who plans her outdoor wedding – and on that day a hurricane goes through.
  • The advocate who meets with his clients by Skype and HIS internet goes down!
  • The high school football player counting on a college scholarship, but breaks his leg senior year.
  • The man who is taking his wife to Paris for her birthday, but has a heart attack the day before.
  • The advocate who goes into business on a shoestring, doesn’t know anything about marketing, waits for the phone to ring, and loses his shirt because he doesn’t understand business.
  • The worker who has a vitally important meeting scheduled at 8 AM, leaves a few minutes late for work, then finds the highway is backed up due to an overturned truck.
  • The advocate who works with a handful of clients, and is then diagnosed with cancer herself.
  • (This may be interesting to you. If you look up “Plan B” online, the first several pages of results all focus on the morning-after pill. Aptly named, for sure.)

Yes – I could go on and on. We’ve all had times when we had well-thought-out plans only to have them dashed because something unanticipated happened instead.

But here’s the fine line between possible devastation of the original intended results – and success. One word: planning

Yes – it’s all about planning, about identifying options, and making sure those wheels can kick into motion if needed. The bride can plan for an alternative date, or an indoor venue. The birthday planning husband can purchase travel insurance and take his wife at a later date. The worker can get to her meeting if she leaves early enough, or if she listens to the traffic reports and takes an alternate route. The prepared, and newly diagnosed advocate, already has another advocate she collaborates with, each of them ‘being there” for the for the times life gets in the way.

I have several Plan Bs in the hopper. You have already heard what I do when the internet goes down. Bigger than that, I have an entire plan put together, which my husband and daughter can access, and which we have discussed, in case something would happen to me and I could not continue my work with APHA and all its associated activities. (Like if I got hit by a truck.)

What Plan Bs do you need? Here are a few:

  • A Plan B for your phone or internet service so clients can connect with you if one of your communications lines goes down.
  • A Plan B for your website in case it gets hacked, or your hosting company goes out of business. (This one is easy – be sure you keep it backed up somewhere besides with your hosting company.)
  • A Plan B for your car breaking down if you will ever need to be at a business-related appointment.
  • A Plan B for your computer files in case your computer gets hacked or just dies. (This is the same easy Plan B as above – keep it backed up on a regular basis on an external hard drive or in the cloud.)

You’ll think of others – once you get started you begin to think of everything that can go wrong! And you know – if it can, it likely will.

NO ONE thinks they will need Plan B. Yet EVERYONE eventually taps into Plan B at one time or another.

Because life WILL and DOES get in the way.


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