Having a Plan B if sometimes not enough for small business owners

Last week a small incident occurred that reminded me of why small business owners need to not just have a Plan B, but sometimes also a Plan C and even a Plan D.

An insurance agent e-mailed me a pdf of a form that I needed to print out, sign and then scan so I could send it back to her ASAP. But when I tried to scan the document, my scanner wouldn’t work. Oh, I’ll fax it, I thought. That was my Plan B. But my fax wouldn’t work either! What was going on here?

Fortunately, I have someone here who is much more tech savvy than I am. He diagnosed the problem: the upgrade he had done the week before to my computer’s operating system was the culprit. Apple had included the print driver for my Hewlett Packard printer in the upgrade, but not the drivers for the scanner or the fax. Thank you, Mr. Jobs.

I won’t bore you with the technical details but the first work-around didn’t work and neither did the second one. With Plans B, C and D down the drain, it was time for Plan E, which finally did the trick.  It was all very nervous-making since the document in question HAD to be sent back that afternoon.

This little saga took about 90 minutes to resolve. But Plan E was only a temporary solution, not convenient for the long haul since it involved hooking my printer/scanner/fax up to another computer at the other side of the house. So Plan F – a new Epson four-in-one printer that is fully compatible with my new OS – is now sitting in my office!

Small business owners often have to figure out alternative solutions due to a lack of adequate resources to support the ideal approach to solving a problem or to implementing a new strategy. Before you launch into something new or try to solve a nagging issue, it is wise to ask yourself, “So what will I do if this approach doesn’t work? What is my Plan B? And if Plan B doesn’t work, what is my Plan C?”

By thinking things through in advance, you will be apt to have fewer unpleasant surprises since developing alternative plans demands that you do thorough research – research that will uncover potential problems, such as the one I ran into when I upgraded my operating system.

There is almost always a work-around available. You just have to find it and ideally – through good research – you’ll be able to find it first so that you never have to get all the way to Plan F.

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