Yesterday there was a major problem at the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport. There was a major blackout that lasted for several hours and left thousands of passengers stranded. Even if you are an entrepreneur that has nothing to do with airports and international travel, there are things you can learn from this event. Lessons for entrepreneurs include the following:
Things will go wrong, horribly wrong.
No matter how you slice it, the airport blackout is an example of things gone wrong, horribly wrong. The main thing that should happen at an airport is that flights should go up in the air and safely come down from the air. Due to the power outage, flights were not going up and down at the airport yesterday. Think about your business. What is your key function? What is the main thing that your business is supposed to do, above all other things? Now think about what you will do if your business cannot do that one thing for some reason. How will you get back on track? How will you get back to doing whatever it is that your business is supposed to do?
As an entrepreneur, you must have contingency plans. You must think about all the things that can possibly go wrong in your business. Once you have identified them, you must find ways to make the wrongs right. If you lost electricity at your business location, what is your contingency plan? If you lose your internet connection, what is your contingency plan? If your website goes down for an extended period of time, what is your contingency plan? If you are denied access to your social media channels, what is your contingency plan?
Just as Noah built the ark before the flood you should prepare for major wrongs in your business before they happen. Take time today to start working on plans to have your business continue in the event of a major wrong with your business.
Life and business like the show must go on.
When the power went out at the airport, I think most of the people at the airport thought, “Yeah, the power is out, but I still have to get to my destination. The need for airplanes and travel plans did not automatically disappear simply because things could not continue as planned. Similarly with your business, if something horribly wrong happens, your clients and customers will still need to be served and services provided. It is not wise for you to think that your customers will sit around and wait for an extended period of time for you to get things back on track.
Do you have relationships with other entrepreneurs in your industry that can help fill in the gap if you need help in the event of a horribly wrong situation? How will your customers receive the products they wanted to purchase from you? How will your clients get the services they hoped you would provide? If you do not have partners and plans in place, you need to take the time now to change that state of affairs.
Customer service matters.
Food was scarce at the airport after the power went out because many of the independent retailers could not sell products due to the lack of electricity. Customers looked at the airport management for solutions to a variety of problems the power outage caused. Some airline carriers tried to feed customers with the bags of pretzels on the airlines.
Think about how you will handle clients and customers in the event things go horribly wrong. How will you communicate with them? What will you say to them about what has occurred? What will you say to them? You cannot always avoid things going horribly wrong at your business, but you can control how you respond and how you act with clients and customers. Your clients and customers will remember the terribly wrong things that happened. More than that, they will remember how you responded and how you made them feel during the hard time.
Take time today to learn what you can from the power outage at the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport. Take these three lessons to heart and use them to make your business better for yourself and for your clients and customers.
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