September is National Preparedness Month. This year’s theme is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” And, if ever there were a year for reminders of the importance of planning & preparation this is the one.
Unusual, unexpected, unprecedented are just some of the words used to describe those moments when something comes from left field and surprises us all.
During this year we have encountered unknowns that exacerbated our feelings of uncertainty because of how unusual a year it has been. In nine months we’ve experienced a global pandemic, civil unrest, political demonstrations, polarizing divisions, dual hurricanes extending their reach far beyond their usual paths and a host of other happenings that felt unfamiliar.
Most everything we encounter in life has precedence. Simply put it’s happened to us or people we know. It’s familiar. Therefore, the risk is known, expected and manageable. That does not mean the final result is certain. It is simply a known and recognizable experience.
For some, this experience of arriving in uncharted territory creates an overwhelming urge to hunker down and wait it out. We’re only human. And it’s natural to feel a measure of uncertainty when that happens. The only thing we can know in this life, with absolute certainty, is that nothing is certain. Life will always throw us a few curveballs.
I wish I could say there will never be another pandemic or dual hurricane or (insert crisis of the moment). I can’t. Remember, we are certain that there will be uncertainty. What I can share is that when there is another crisis, we’ll all be better prepared knowing we’ve faced down our fair share of curveballs and we’re still swinging.
And those heroes of small business are working hard to keep their businesses strong. Smart operators and owners are considering how best to plan & prepare so they can effectively respond to changing business conditions, evolving customer behaviors or emerging opportunities.
As a business broker I have known many business owners who were ready to retire but were afraid to sell their business during a “time of uncertainty”.
The decision to pause the sale of the business was attributed by them to an unstable market, recession, employee changes, etc. While they waited for what they deemed the perfect time to sell, a new curveball emerged that negatively impacted a key aspect of their business (customers, suppliers, competition, product) or they suffered an unexpected injury or illness. The curveball devalued their company so severely they would have been better served by selling in a slower market.
While we cannot eliminate uncertainty, we can affirm with certainty buyers are actively searching for businesses to buy and the time to plan and prepare is now.