What To Do When Business Doesn’t Go As Planned What To Do When Business Doesn’t Go As Planned The truth of starting and running a business is there is no guaranteed recipe for success. Even some of the world’s most successful business leaders have experienced enormous setbacks and business failures. There are a number of preventative measures you can put in place and ways in which to recover from setbacks in your business, but it’s impossible to ever predict the future. Keep calm and remember the big picture. What’s worked and what hasn’t so far? Why did I set these specific goals? Were my goals realistic and well thought-out? Have I taken all the necessary steps to reach these goals? Evaluate Your Expectations Part of making a business plan is setting expectations for your business – sales goals, when you’ll turn a profit, your operations team, etc. If you find that your business is not reaching your goals and expectations, take a step back and ask yourself some important questions – What’s worked and what hasn’t so far? Why did I set these specific goals? Were my goals realistic and well thought-out? Have I taken all the necessary steps to reach these goals? Answering these questions will help you determine what your next steps are and whether your setbacks lie in the performance of your business, in the goals themselves, or some combination of the two. Don’t Mix Business With Personal A common mistake that many people make when starting a new business is failing to keep business and personal finances separate. I strongly recommend opening a separate business credit card and bank account to help you stay organized when it comes to tracking your income and expenses, and to make things much easier when it comes time to do taxes. This can also help protect you if things don’t go as financially well as planned. Many people make the mistake of blurring the lines between business and personal finances, or putting all of their savings into their business, which can backfire and leave you with nothing. Keep things separate so that you don’t put yourself at risk and make sure you have a healthy emergency fund to cover you in case your business can’t afford to pay out the income you had expected. Plan for Plan B The key to a great business plan is having a Plan B for when things don’t go as expected. Setting limits in terms of time or money and having a contingency plan and exit strategy built into your business plan can help you to avoid seriously damaging your financial well being. When creating a contingency plan, consider all of the possible risks and threats your business could face. These could be anything from a natural disaster, issues with employees or your operations team, a major supplier going out of business, a weakened economy preventing you from reaching sales goals, or a loss of data. The best laid out business plans plan for the unexpected so that you know what to do and how to recover when things don’t go quite as planned. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away When starting a business, you want to minimize your financial risk as much as possible. If your business’ setbacks are turning out to be too great of a financial drain for you to endure, don’t be afraid to walk away. There is no shame. In many cases you may be able to stick it out and endure the rough seas as you adjust the sails, but you certainly don’t want to go so far as destroying your financial stability. You’ve likely spent weeks or months putting together your business plan with countless sleepless nights of meticulous planning. And then? Things don’t go nearly as expected, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. The cold hard truth is, when it comes to business, things rarely go exactly as planned and the best thing you can do for you and your business is to plan for the unplanned to happen! You can’t possibly predict exactly how things will turn out, but if you stay one step ahead of the game, you can be prepared to turn disappointment into action and recover from potential financial setbacks. Leslie Tayne Leslie H. Tayne has more than 15 years' experience in the practice area of consumer and business financial debt-related services. Speaker, Author of Life & Debt, Attorney and Founder of the Tayne Law Group, P.C., Leslie is working towards reshaping the debt industry by offering real, proven solutions to help her clients get back on the road to financial freedom.