Once you have identified your most important risks the next step is to make sure you have at least one contingency plan (aka “Plan B”) for every risk. These are alternate plans you will use in case the risk occurs despite your efforts to mitigate. For example, if you are buying a new home and expect to close on a certain date, you should have contingency plans for living arrangements and storage in case the date moves out.
Here are a few ideas to help you identify the kinds of contingency plans you may need:
- Conduct a “pre-mortem” – This is a look into the future where you ask yourself “My decision failed – what were the causes?” Was it lack of time, money, or support? Were you being too ambitious?
- Conduct a “pre-parade” – Ask yourself “My decision was wildly successful – what were the reasons?” Brainstorming the answers to this question will help you avoid problems and identify ways to ensure success.
- Set a milestone – This is a point in time where you will evaluate your efforts and decide to carry on, make a course correction, or stop altogether. This will prevent you from falling into the “sunk cost” trap (Where you continue with a bad investment in time or money simply because you already have invested so much).
- Be prepared for unexpected success – Your endeavor may be more successful sooner than you anticipated. This might mean more of your time and money to keep up. Be prepared in advance to react quickly.