Writing Business Plans/ESSENTIALS OF MANAGEMENT
Why are contingency strategies important?
A Contingency plan is a plan devised for a specific situation when things could go wrong. Contingency plans are often devised by BUSINESSES who want to be prepared for anything that could happen. They are sometimes known as "Back-up plans", "Worst-case scenario plans" or "Plan B".
Contingency plans include specific strategies and actions to deal with specific variances to assumptions resulting in a particular problem, emergency or state of affairs. They also include a monitoring process and “triggers” for initiating planned actions. They are required to help businesses to recover from serious incidents in the minimum time with minimum cost and disruption.
Business contingency plans need to include planning for marketing to gain stakeholder support and understanding. Stakeholders need to be kept informed of the reasons for any changes, the vision of the end result and the proposed plan for getting there. The level of stakeholders' importance and influence should be considered when determining the amount of marketing required, the timescales for implementation and completion, and the overall effectiveness of the plan. If time permits, input and consultation from the most influential stakeholders should be incorporated into the building of any contingency plan as without acceptance from these people any plan will at best encounter limited success.
During times of crisis, contingency plans are often developed to explore and prepare for any eventuality.
Contingency planning is a systematic approach to identifying what can go wrong in a situation. Rather than hoping that everything will turn out OK or that "fate will be on your side", a planner should try to identify contingency events and be prepared with plans, strategies and approaches for avoiding, coping or even exploiting them
Contingencies are relevant events anticipated by a planner, including low-probability events that would have major impacts. Contingency planning is a "What if?" skill important in all types of planning domains, but especially in contested and competitive domains. The objective of contingency planning is not to identify and develop a plan for every possible contingency. That would be impossible and a terrible waste of time. Rather, the objective is to encourage one to think about major contingencies and possible responses. Few situations actually unfold according to the assumptions of a plan. However, people who have given thought to contingencies and possible reponses are more likely to meet major goals and targets successfully. The following questions can help develop contingency plans:
What events may occur that require a response?
What disasters might happen during execution of the plan?
What is the worst case scenario of events for the situation?
What scenarios are possible for the situation?
What event would cause the greatest disruption of current activities and plans?
What happens if costs of the plan are excessive? what happens if delays occur?
What if key people leave the organization?
What are the expected moves of antagonists and competitors?
Who or what might impede implementation of the plan?