Contingency plans are “what-if” plans. What if a major supplier is shut down? What if you experience an extended power outage? What if another essential service you count on is lost? If you have been following Do 1 Thing Business each month, you may have already done some contingency planning.

A contingency plan is a “what-if” plan. By thinking through the possibilities now, you make it easier to make good decisions when something goes wrong.

Some contingencies to consider are:

  • What if you had to operate with less staff?

  • What if your key supplier or major customer shut down?

  • What if your building is inside a chemical release zone and has to stay empty for days?


Create a planning team of key staff members to talk through these and other “what-if” questions. Rank them by probability and severity. Are they low or high-frequency events? Are they low or high-impact when they do occur? High-frequency/high-impact events should be your priority for contingency planning. After that look at low-frequency/high-impact events.

Contingency plans can equip you to protect your business in a changing world.

  • Follow a planning process
  • Determine your risks
  • Define essential functions
  • Design a plan
  • Test, train, and exercise the plan
  • Distribute and update the plan