Businesswoman investigating business plan risk for the new yearA new year is just around the corner and most of you have created a business plan to guide your actions.  Great! But did you also plan for the unexpected?

Even the best-laid plans can be thrown off course. Typically this happens when some change forces you to adjust. You have the best chance of staying the course if you identify the biggest sources of business plan risk.

What will be happening around you while you are fulfilling your vision for 2017? What might change that is outside your control?  These are considered “threats” to you and/or your business.  The likelihood of them happening is often low and for that reason, we often ignore them all together.

The best way to address business plan risk is to just to be aware of them and be prepared.  What are your views on where the world will be in your 2017?

Is there anything that might be out of your control for the term of your plan?

Examples of business plan risks include:

  • Changes in the economy
  • Changes in your staff or organizational structure
  • Personal changes or demands (health, family, responsibilities)
  • Changes your competitors might make
  • Regulations or policies that guide your business
  • Changes in technology that cause you or your target market to change
  • Client changes – expanding, contracting, selling, new decision makers
  • Acts of nature – winter snow storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.


Now, how will you deal with them if they do occur? Be sure to think through it carefully and put any protection in place that you can. For example, if you think there is a chance that you have to take more time off work than usual for any reason, be sure there is someone that can cover your responsibilities. If a large portion of your revenue comes from just a few clients, meet with them to be certain their plans include working with you this year.

It is true that in most cases the things we fear most never happen. That is not a good excuse to not be prepared for business plan risk. Remember the advice from Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

I wish you all continued success in the year ahead. Go forward armed with all you will need to fight and win the battles.