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Living with Murphys Law - Be Prepared

Living with Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law states that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Edward Murphy, who is credited with the phrase, was an aerospace engineer who recognized that problems are inevitable and advocated the use of defensive design in the projects he worked on.

Be PreparedHow does this apply to small business owners? Murphy’s law suggests you need to have a backup plan. What’s yours?

What can’t be controlled

It’s just a fact that there are many forces and events that businesses can’t control, including:

  • Weather
  • Human error
  • World events
  • Death or serious illness of a key employee

What can be controlled

While you can’t control a lot of what happens in your business, you can control some things, including:

  • What you say to your employees, customers, vendors, and others
  • What you do (the way in which you conduct your business)

Backup plans

Go back to what can’t be controlled and think now how you’d respond if something happens to impact your business. Here are some plans that you can make now that can be implemented in case of an emergency or something goes wrong:

  • Create a disaster recovery plan. This may be recovering from being shut down due to property damage, data loss, or other problems that may hit you hard. Learn about disaster preparedness and recovery from the SBA . You can find a free template for creating your own disaster recovery plan from the (you have to submit contact information to view it).
  • Carry suitable insurance coverage. Check the extent of property damage covered by your current policy to decide whether you need to increase it. Determine whether you’re in a flood zone and need to obtain separate flood insurance. Explore business interruption coverage to cover your monthly expenses (and perhaps lost profits) during a period when you are out of business because of a storm, fire, or other covered event.
  • Backup vendors. Vendors may go out of business, or raise prices out of your budget. New vendors may come on the scene offering better products or more attractive prices. Make it part of your business activities to stay abreast of industry developments and keep on hand the contact information about backup vendors.


Sun Tzu in The Art of War said: “Plan for what it is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.”

You can’t prepare for everything, but you can prepare for some things, so do it!