How Comprehensive is your Business Planning?

Does your business plan include planning for long term staff sick leave or even short term staff sick leave?  Ours didn’t – it now will have that included!  It has been such a fortnight!

The Cheese MallI was away from work for almost a full two weeks. I got the ‘real flu’ – not man flu or woman flu but a flu like I had never experienced before.  I was in bed for five days, then up and on the sofa, I did go into work one morning knowing they were short staffed but had to come home again after a couple of hours.  Many of our staff were out for 2 or 3 days too with various colds.

Small business advice (or even medium business advice but small businesses tend to have fewer staff so the effects of one or two staff members being away unexpectedly is felt more severely)  must include having a back-up plan for these eventualities. Life is such that people get ill and as is the case with Murphy’s Law, it will always happen that either a few will get sick together or it will occur at the busiest time of the year.

Matthew’s girlfriend Cissy stepped into the breach for the two weeks and by all accounts, worked really well. I was worried about the two of them working together as they seem to be so infatuated with each other but it seems as though they did tear their eyes away from each other and got some work done. Matthew has dropped hints about Cissy coming to work full time at the Cheese Mall but we’re back to a full staff now this week and we don’t have any vacancies so she is out job hunting again this week.

As our tagline for the  Cheese Mall is ‘the ultimate shopping experience’, I was really concerned that our staffing difficulties for the last couple of weeks would damage our reputation. Customers don’t like having to wait long to be served and we have always prided ourselves on our customer service.  However, our turnover didn’t alter and we seem to be just as busy this week as ever, thank goodness.

I am determined to include all these ‘extras’ in our business planning, even our marketing plans.  Cover for unexpected staff sick leave is one thing but there must be other eventualities I haven’t thought of and before they raise their ugly heads, I would be happier if I could pre-empt some of them. Budding entrepreneurs we may be but we have to be ‘prepared for most eventualities’ budding entrepreneurs!  Have you faced unexpected challenges in your business that you could share with us?

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