When most people hear the phrase “an ounce of prevention is a worth a pound of cure,” the first thing that comes to mind is health. However, Benjamin Franklin was actually talking about fire safety when he made that proclamation. He had been in other cities that were better prepared than Philadelphia when it came to putting out fires.
Ultimately, the quote and the preparation that came out of the quote led to more education about fires to the public and to better training for the Philadelphia firefighters of the time. Philadelphia went from being one of the least safe cities in which to live to being one of the safest.
Applications in business
When it comes to business, it’s vital that business owners think ahead and take risk management precautions. We have to sit back and reflect on how to make the customer experience better before we lose customers.
We have to think about how to protect our intellectual property and customer’s data before we get hacked. If you think I’m making a case for insurance companies, you would be correct.
But I’m talking about more than just insurance. We have to obsess over social media analytics and pay attention to our accounts as part of our routine.
Getting complacent allows a “sickness” to creep into the business.
If we spend one or two hours each week doing a checkup on our numbers in the business, it prevents spending weeks fixing a problem. All business owners and entrepreneurs should make Franklin’s quote their motto to live by.
A practical application
One year, I learned a valuable lesson about having all my eggs in one basket. I relied on one client for the majority of my income. Looking back, it seems obvious that I should have been more aware of depending on one company for my livelihood, but “hindsight is 20/20.” When that client stopped sending me work, I was left stranded.
Today, I know which percentage of my income is derived from each client, and I take care to keep them more even. I spend time each month reaching out to new clients and finding new work to ensure that I always have a steady stream of income.
It takes me a little bit of time, but I no longer lose time stressing over whether I’m going to be able to meet my obligations.