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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Expecting the Unexpected with Richard Sercombe

Life is inherently unpredictable, and this unpredictability extends to the world of business as well. Despite our best efforts to plan and strategise, unforeseen circumstances can arise that can significantly impact a business’s operations and success at times when we least expect it. Entrepreneurs and business leaders need to recognise this reality and adopt a mindset of preparedness to navigate the unexpected.

Such a mindset should involve a Short Term Contingency Management Plan to ensure not only a smooth transition of ownership but also a nominated person to safeguard the continuity of your business while you step away temporarily. The advantage of having such a plan is to ensure that your company always has suitable leaders ready in case of a sudden unanticipated change. Failing to establish a well-organised plan may leave your business without a second chance to adapt after a key player steps back or departs. 

One local business owner knows the importance of having trusted, dedicated staff that can step in when required. Cairns Natural Spring Water owner Richard Sercombe experienced a health scare last year and was out of action for about six months, but fortunately, he had well-trained staff ready to help out when he had to step back for a period of time. 

“Having a health scare like that highlighted the importance of having good staff in place, and everybody trained up on all aspects of their work and what each job required. You know, you never know what’s around the corner. Fortunately, my health scare is a thing of the past, and now I’m back full time,” Richard said.

“I guess I was very lucky that I had very good staff. Very good people around me. Basically, they were trained in all aspects of the operation.”

Richard was able to know his business was in good hands and focus on what was most important at that moment–his health. Having spent years running his own business, Richard says a lot of people look good on paper when hiring them, but in reality, it all comes down to good staff selection and maintaining good relationships.

I’m glad I had the right people around me during that time, my partner Linda, my manager Wayne and Lucas, our bottling plant operator.

“I can’t stress enough how grateful I am to all of them for keeping things running like clockwork while I was away.”

“It’s not just about me; it’s a team effort. I’ve never seen it as me being the boss. It’s like working with a few of your mates. Everybody’s involved, and everybody’s ideas are always welcomed.” 

Such a well-defined and up-to-date plan plays a vital role in facilitating this seamless transition, reducing the risk of disruptions to the business’s operations should the plan be for permanent succession; ensuring you have weighed up your options and have appointed the right successor is the initial step. After that, it’s always worth having your business evaluated. Although the value of your business may undergo significant changes prior to your planned departure, a reliable valuation can significantly support your succession planning efforts. It’s easier said than done, but it’s essential to review and keep your plan updated as time passes. 

With careful preparations in place, when the moment arrives for you to depart or take an extended time, whether that’s for a holiday or unexpected leave, you should be able to transfer your business and gracefully step aside smoothly. While predicting or controlling every aspect of your business landscape or life is impossible, being prepared and adaptable is essential. Creating a plan, as noted, will help you personally and professionally to be resilient, maintain financial stability and see your business through unpredictable challenges. 

Top Tips for Navigating the Unexpected 

Embrace uncertainty

Build resilience

Foster a strong network

Develop contingency plans

Stay informed and adaptable

Maintain financial stability

Continuously learn and innovate

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