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In Business: Think First, Panic Later

Mother Nature has been active this week across the United States with an earthquake in Colorado, another earthquake centered near Washington D.C. was felt in 22 states that according to record books was an 100 year event, and now here comes Hurricane Irene heading towards the Carolina’s Outer Banks and into major cities and towns along the Northeast coastline.

Living in South Florida over the past ten years I have learned to respect the power of nature. Living in a sub-tropical climate can sometimes be rather harsh. Having gone through three hurricanes (two within three weeks of each other and twice having no electricity including air conditioning for nearly two weeks) I understand not only the power of nature but also its destructive force.

If you tune in and become aware of the environment around you, you can actually feel the hurricane in the atmosphere before the storm hits. There is an electric feeling like you have never experienced at any other time of your life. And the night sky is absolutely beautiful and awesome to behold when the city lights are dimmed due to power outages.

But the storm clean up and the resourcefulness required to run a business after such a powerful force of nature can require patience, determination and creativity.

You want to be as prepared as possible for the weather events that expose your business to risk but know you can never fully anticipate the unknown.

So here is what to remember: In an emergency, any emergency – think first, and if you need to panic… panic later.

Most people get through hurricanes just fine even if there is damage to property. Certainly you need to prepare and take all necessary precautions for your safety and your property’s safety. But over the next several days there will be millions of people in panic and most of the panic will be unnecessary.

Prepare – Think it through – Don’t panic no matter what the problem is – If you panic you lose any chance of thinking rationally.

This also applies to business.

In this economy, there are CEOs, company presidents and business owners finding success and making a profit with their companies. But the majority of the business community is seriously worried and concerned about the future.

Being worried about the future or being in a panic about what is happening with the economy and how that may relate to your business isn’t going to solve your business problems or make your business profitable.

If you panic about the economy – start to make irrational business decisions based on panic and fear – don’t review your business plan and revise it for the current economy – you will be facing serious problems with your business.

So take a lesson from when the weather is inclement:

– Plan

– Prepare

– Stay out of harm’s way

Business people who don’t panic and think it through will prosper and be successful regardless of the economy or the weather.


Note: To all in the path of Hurricane Irene, as Sergeant Phil Esterhaus use to always say on Hill Street Blues at the beginning of each show: “Let’s be careful out there.”

Stay safe.

And remember: Think first, stay calm; panic, react later.


I invite your stories of how your business is prepared for emergencies.

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