Plan For The Worst, Hope For The Best: Building A Contingency Plan

March 23, 2021

It might not feel necessary to be planning for the worst-case scenario when business is booming. But developing a comprehensive contingency plan during these calm moments is bound to be far more effective than during the middle of a crisis. As a business owner, you’ve likely woken up in the middle of the night thinking about what a solid ‘Plan B’ looks like. However, those mental notes don't count as having a detailed backup strategy. 

Instead, make sure your field service operation is prepared for any situation by formalising your ideas into a contingency plan. By delving into both the plausible and unfathomable risks facing your company’s longevity, you can develop intelligent ways to solve these issues should the unthinkable happen. 

Like many other field service operators, you might be thinking that a contingency plan simply applies to incredibly rare events that you likely won’t ever experience. However, these thoughtful documents can also be highly effective for dealing with everyday instances like a crucial team member suddenly deciding to quit or your biggest rival moving in across the street. 

As extraordinary events such as COVID-19 have proven to businesses around the world, you can never be too prepared. Delve into this helpful guide to learn the basics of creating a detailed contingency plan that could end up saving your business.

Starting Your Contingency Plan

You’re not likely not going to be given much warning if disaster strikes your company. This is why you should start thinking about your contingency plan immediately if you haven’t already written down some basic concepts. But you will want to take a considered approach in creating this vital document to ensure it reflects every possible perspective and outcome. 

Although you might have a relatively clear understanding of the most apparent risks facing your company, speaking to your employees is a smart way to open your eyes to other possibilities. As these people are most likely engaging with customers and seeing what happens on-site every day, they will have an informed opinion about different types of situations that you might not foresee. 

Rather than speaking to each employee individually, many contingency plans are created by holding a quarterly or annual meeting. This way, everyone in your organisation can share their views and provide updated information on new vulnerabilities.

Documenting Risks and Solutions

Your contingency plan can only be effective if the proper time and research has gone into its creation. While it might seem like a lot of work to complete, you’ll be thanking yourself should it ever have to be put into action. However, it can be hard to know where to start when looking to begin this imperative process.

Kickstart your plan by taking a broad perspective on elements that are critical to your company’s operations. Typically, this will include several pillars ranging from staff and technology to your supply chain and legal concerns. Once these have been determined, it’s time to develop an appropriate response that explains who to contact, key responsibilities and reasonable timelines.

For example, you might identify an ongoing internet outage as a threat to your company’s ability to accept jobs. You should include the details of your internet service provider, identify who handles each task, and explain possible workarounds that could help the company continue to function in the meantime.

Once you’ve completed a sweeping overview of the main risks that pose a threat, you should begin examining smaller, less obvious hazards that require unique solutions. It won’t take long to realise proper contingency plans are long and complex, so you also want to visualise this information in a digestible way. 

Visualising Your Strategy

Now that you’ve outlined the risks and solutions needed for your contingency plan, ensuring everyone on your team understands the process is vital. The best way to achieve this is by formulating your ideas into a coordinated visual document that's easy to follow. 

Although there are many ways to do this, many companies use a basic chart template. This is a clear and approachable guide that itemises specific risks alongside their potential impact and solutions. As you move from one step to the next, this type of contingency plan should clearly detail the role of each person involved so your company can get back on track as soon as possible. 

For a slightly more rigorous visual tool, mind maps have proven to be very effective. This kind of chart is built around sprawling pathways that each include numerous steps depending on the specific situation. If you want to break down each risk and solution into smaller steps, a mind map is the perfect tool!

Lead Your Field Service Operation with FieldPulse

Although you probably don’t want to spend your time dreaming up the worst possible things that could happen to your business, delaying the creation of your contingency plan would be a mistake. This document ensures you fully understand the state of your company, while also making it easier to negotiate tough situations if they arise.

Once you’re happy that your contingency plan features both major and minor risks that threaten your business, don’t forget to share it with your entire team. After all, there’s no point having a strategy in place if no one but you knows that it exists. Throughout this process, ensure that your plan remains detailed but easy enough for everyone to follow. 

If your business is ready to improve how it operates in many respects, consider turning your attention to FieldPulse. Our highly effective service streamlines customer interaction, booking in jobs and processing invoices, among many other helpful tools. Schedule a demo to discover how FieldPulse will grow your company!

Upgrade your trade with everything you need in one place.