Lessons from the Super Bowl: expect the unexpected

american football in darkness

If yesterday’s Super Bowl power outage offers any lessons, it’s that no matter how much preparation goes into something, something could always go wrong. So, here’s a list on how to be prepared.

When about 100 million people are watching live, the one thing that you don’t want is for the lights to go out. But that’s exactly what happened when the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens went head to head in one of television’s most watched events worldwide. The power outage stopped play for 35 minutes, and at a potentially crucial part of the game. But when so much time and planning has gone into an event such as this, is it unbelievable that a power surge could take control of events? Not really. Because you never know when something might happen. Here are five things to remember and be prepared for in your business.

1. Power outages

This might be too easy after yesterday’s events, but it’s still relevant for all small businesses out there. To save yourself in the case of a power outage, when power is crucial to your business, make sure that you have a failsafe backup system in place. Take at least one backup off site as well, so if there is a power surge that takes out your in house systems, you have something in place to work from. Storing anything that you’re currently working online either using cloud software or shared storage systems like Dropbox, Evernote etc, means that you can finish that article you were writing from the cafe across the road on your iPad if you need to.

2. Cashflow

Relying on a payment coming in that then suddenly gets delayed for unexpected reasons could leave you short of cash. For safety, make sure that you always have an emergency fund accesible if you find yourself in a situation where you’re unable to make a new order of supplies due to a cash shortfall. In a perfect world, everyone would always pay on time and banks would never close. This not being the case, be prepared for an unforeseen eventuality when it comes to your money.

3. Bad press

As much as you’d like to always be in control of your message, sometimes things are misrepresented, mistakes occur or the intern forgets to delete the ‘DO NOT PUBLISH’ section from your draft press release. In this situation you’d want to have a professional PR team ready with spin, but if this isn’t possible, the best thing to do is face the music and, if possible, with a sense of humour.

4. Fraud

You can’t control when someone might decide to commit fraud against you just as you can’t command the tide. While you might put plenty of safeguards in place to protect your credit card or business details from being released, a determined criminal usually finds a way. Think now about the systems you have in place to protect passwords and crucial business information- it might be that you need to simply introduce better internal practices to protect yourself from this eventuality.

5. People

You may have paid the best recruiters or simply put all your effort into hiring the best staff you possibly can, but nothing can predict what will happen with the people in your business. Someone may have a baby, someone else might get poached by a bigger company, or they might move interstate to be with family. Whatever your business, you can never be totally reliant on having the same staff year in and year out. While this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust the people you hire, it does mean you should make sure you have stopgaps ready in case you suddenly need to fill a hole.