My Auntie and Uncle own a little pharmacy. They have worked it for years and years. They enjoy it and are an integral part of the local community. However what they did neglect to do was to look ahead. In particular, to look ahead and plan in case either (or both) ever encountered bad health or if circumstances were to change in their lives, resulting in the business needing to be sold.

Unfortunately my Uncle has become ill and is in hospital. Now my Auntie is worrying about him and still has to run their business. They are struggling to get staff as no one wants part time hours here and there. She is running from hospital to shop to doctors to stockist. Everything is suffering and things are getting on top of her.

This is a common scenario for any small business and one which I encountered many years ago, and from which I learned a valuable lesson. If you can learn to plan ahead then you will save yourself a whole lot of stress if and when such situations arise in the future. And situations do always arise... that is part of life.

To plan ahead, you need to think about how you would run your business if you weren't in it.

Answer me this, if you were not there, would your business still operate? If so, how effective would it be? How long could it continue to operate without you?

We do not know what tomorrow will bring, and this is why we have life, house, car insurances in place. Make sure you put some insurance on your business too. I don't just mean actual business insurance, but also taking time to put some processes and back up plans in place to ensure that it can tick along without you whilst you are not there.

It is standard practice within the IT industry to put in place disaster recovery plans, so that if servers go down, others take over and business systems remain operational. This ensures minimal disruption to business operations and definitely provides peace of mind for the business owners.

As small business owners, we need to develop similar plans to ensure that at short notice, our businesses can operate effectively without us for a period of time. By looking ahead and planning, we will give ourselves peace of mind both now, and during the stressful situations life sometimes unexpectedly throws at us. We can then focus our attention on those nearest and dearest to us without also worrying about how the business is going in our absence.

Author's Bio: 

Hiten Thakrar is the first person you'll see when visiting Sydney's Zantini Menswear shop. Best known as "H," he is passionate about providing quality menswear as well as exceptional service and advice regarding how to be the best dressed man you can be. Visit www.ZantiniMenswear.com to receive "How to Look Great and Save Cash With Your Business Clothing," along with tips, tricks and some great menswear fashions.