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Agile thinking requires forward contingency planning

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Chess is a game that requires a great deal of planning and thought prior to executing each move. The opponent is likely giving the same degree of consideration about each move as well. The result is that it is quite possible to see unexpected events during the game. Your response must be well thought out in order to reduce the chances of defeat. Failure to give consideration several moves ahead and consider counter positions usually leads to defeat if the opponent is good.

Business can often have the same complexity. It is possible to plan and consider all aspects of a business, but the unexpected is going to happen; if not sooner, than it will happen later. It is rare that events go according to plans, but when they do it is truly a great thing. One activity that enhances success is the ability to consider those events that may sidetrack the business and develop ideas about a means of tackling them should they occur. Of course, the truly unexpected is not possible to plan for, so being AGILE is the key to rapid response in such situations.

Entrepreneurs spend significant time developing business plans. They examine the market and determine costs to run a business. The funds required to reach critical inflection points and milestones are used in a pitch to investors. Occasionally, they consider alternatives but one question often received in a diligence meeting relates to competition. Invariably, savvy investors find competition unknown to the entrepreneur. Recognizing the impossibility to know each competing company when they are private or keeping their development a secret until launch, it can be easy to be surprised; i.e., a possible unexpected event requiring rapid action to survive.

The ability to react in an agile manner is also needed for many of life’s events. Taking a road trip and finding you get stuck in a traffic jam and may miss a big meeting is just one example. Another unexpected event is being in an accident and spending time recovering from injuries. It is not possible to plan for all natural disasters and it seems they are occurring with greater frequency these days. The ability to respond and get back on one’s feet requires agility to one degree or another.

You may require help to overcome negative impacts. This is the reason advisors and mentors are critical to your startup or existing business. People with skills that augment those of the entrepreneur add depth to the consideration of steps taken in countering the negative action. No one has all the knowledge to handle certain events. You can plus up your skills and understanding by having others willing to help.

In short, plan extensively for your startup or existing business. Be prepared to react quickly to overcome those events you could not plan for. Such events are likely to occur! Your goal is to get through them as efficiently and successfully as possible and get back to growing the business.

Taffy Williams can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter @twilli2861, ColonialTDC , photo website, Google+, Facebook, and Startup Group. He has written more than 300 articles for: Startup Blog and Examiner Charlotte, NC- small business. More on the agile concepts may be found in soon to be released book: Think Agile

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