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  • Writer's pictureErika Andresen

How is plant care different from business continuity? It's not.

You should not be intimidated by the things that make you better, stronger, and more productive.

Business continuity is not that hard once you learn about it. You do it every day of your life in small ways, even just checking your weather app if you are going outside for anything at all. That's not so scary. Or hard. Business continuity has the same principles and seeing the conditions and figuring out what makes you most comfortable to carry on. Here are two examples from my life and how life imitates business continuity.

First: I recently had to do some spur of the moment intervention for my plants in order for them to survive. When I traveled in the winter for long periods of time, I used to lower the heat to save on money but learned that kills plants. Especially poinsettias. My holiday travel started after the extreme drop in temperature. The day started in the 40s and it was -15 into the night. I didn't think much of it as my thermostat was set at a good temperature and I wasn't going to lower it. But it was oddly cold in my house.

I checked doors for leaks because it felt drafty. I noticed the vent was pushing out cold-ish air. I went to the thermostat: 60. It was after 10pm. The unit was not strong enough to keep up with the temperature drop. Likely because it wasn't calibrated correctly, which I couldn't have known since the house was new to me and it was checked in the summer because it was having cooling issues. What did I do?

I couldn't call anyone - it was after hours. I was leaving at 6am to get my flight. I couldn't move my plants to a warmer neighbor's house (if I had time, I would have done that). I hoped the unit would catch up overnight. Nope: it was 56 when I woke up. I moved my plants to a higher location near the vents and did what I could to get them warm. I was grateful for the fact the temps were getting incrementally higher over the next few days. I just had to wait it out until my return on the 28th. I did have a neighbor go in with my spare keys to check the temp on the 26th and see if the pipes burst (I also left my cabinets open and faucets on drip).

Temperature was back up to normal. No pipes burst. And all of my plants were fine except one: the poinsettia. That was a risk I accepted.

Second: I love hiking. Being outdoors energizes me. I've known about All Trails for some time. I never personally used the thoroughly helpful trail hiking app. I've let the people I hiked with use (read: pay for) it and I'd use the benefit of their knowledge. Then I moved to a new state.

I didn't meet anyone who both liked hiking as much as I did AND could hike at my level/speed. So I went alone. And discovered that the trails in NC/SC/TN aren't marked as well as they could be. And they all were in zero cell reception areas. I wound up getting the free version of All Trails. That...wasn't the best.

It was akin to hiking with nothing. Good for pre-planning but useless on the actual trail. And where I went, on the days I went, I was either alone the entire time or saw 1 or 2 people the whole 3-9 miles. I would have to ask for help and directions. I successfully accomplished my goal - albeit with some detours and maybe longer than I'd like. Then I paid for All Trails. Life hasn't been the same since.


1) My original plan wasn't good enough.

I improvised on the spot working within the limitations I had. I wasn't willing to sacrifice my travel plans or good standing with my neighbors to make sure all my plants survived. Considering those parameters, my plan was a success. I'm making my plan better now for next time: I'm I'm having the HVAC person come to correctly calibrate my unit so it doesn't happen again. EVEN THOUGH these artic blasts don't happen commonly, I'd rather have it taken care of.

2) Being cheap saves you money in the short term and little else.

You can have a business without a continuity plan, but you'll be winging it, wasting time and resources, and endangering your ability to continue. You can do it half way and all that does is give you false confidence and security. You can go all in. Prepare. Have your plan made out before and accessible the whole time you need it. It not only makes things easier and more enjoyable, it makes it possible for you to do it again. And again.

Secure. Survive. Thrive.

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