When Murphy Comes Calling, How Prepared Are You?

As Michael Palin so famously said in the Monty Python skit, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” In IT, you should know this better than anyone else. Nobody expects to get hacked. If they did, they would have prevented it from happening OR would have been so brilliantly prepared that the incident was merely an inconvenience rather than the costly, often devastating, disaster it becomes.

So it goes in life. We cannot anticipate (much less prevent) all the bad things that can happen to us, but we CAN anticipate most of what could go wrong and have a Plan B, C and D in place. Most do not do this and prefer to whistle past the graveyard while walking a little faster, telling themselves there’s nothing here to see, nothing to worry about and “monsters aren’t real.” I beg to differ…

Last month, the following tragedies happened to various members: One had a close family member die suddenly, without warning. Another had a spouse go to the ER with a serious health condition, leaving him to run the business AND take care of the family. Another had a key employee, with hard-to-find skills in security, quit without notice – projects piled up, clients needing support, with no backup person available. Another lost 3 (THREE) key accounts in the same month, all to acquisition, immediately putting them in the red, losing money and going from having a laugh at how good life was to suddenly being faced with having to lay off key employees or continue to bleed money. Another got seriously ill with Covid, putting them in the hospital for weeks, unable to work.

And these are just the ones I know about.

In business, everyone puts their energy and focus on growth and maintenance, NOT prevention or risk mitigation, because there’s already SO MUCH to do. Who has time to plan for something that hasn’t happened yet? Plus, there’s no immediate ROI on prevention. It’s easier to stubbornly insist, “That won’t happen to ME,” and “MY business/clients/situation/employees are DIFFERENT,” which leaves them sitting ducks for all sorts of misery. Most will acknowledge that any manner of bad things can happen and do happen – ransomware, fires, rogue employees, active shooters, sudden serve illness – but very, very few are willing to accept it personally and (most importantly) PREPARE for it to happen.

Part of this is an inherent desire to believe others somehow cause their problems by their own culpability (she was raped because she was drunk and got into a car with a group of strangers). Sometimes it’s cheapness or pure laziness. Sometimes willful blindness and occasionally ignorance. But hear me on this if you’re running a business: you MUST have certain protections in place to prepare for worst-case scenarios.

Get out of all debt and set aside at least one year of personal income in a savings account you can get to in a hurry. Save at least 2, even 3 months of operating capital (retained earnings) in your business. Over insure yourself. With employees, constantly buffer against “critical ones” in your business. The one tech you cannot live without. The one salesperson who can produce. The one manager who runs all operations that you are clueless against. Get with an attorney to come up with a contingency plan for the business in the event you get hit by a bus. And I don’t need to tell you about cyber security, do I?

All of us work far too hard to get the money to then lose it to a disaster we could have predicted, should have prevented, but didn’t. I’m with Buffet on his two rules regarding money. Rule #1: Don’t lose the money. The second rule: Don’t forget the first rule.

Do you want more leads, more clients, more profits now but don’t know where to start? Click here and watch a quick video about the three biggest problems IT Service Businesses face and how to solve them.