One should not have rigid expectations for one’s business. In fact, rigidity — either to production or prices — will eventually drive one out of business, even if that very rigidity is what made one successful in the first place.
The dangers of habit can be subtle, especially when a business appears to become “automatic” — but any business-owner knows there isn’t really any such thing as an “automatic” business which will keep itself alive without one’s assistance, even if it is as little effort as renegotiating prices or routine maintenance. The dangers of habit blind one to the spontaneous nature of events. Events are interruptions, unexpected variables. They have no duration in time, like a single point. While events have no duration, the “rip” they cause leaves behind effects you have to deal with immediately. But if one is operating a casual, habitual business, one is not ready for these eruptions.
To be prepared for the worst, it’s not that one has to prepare for war. It’s simply that one has to be open to every possibility within the context of probabilities. Probably, your supplier won’t go under spontaneously. Possibly, they may go under. The strategy, then, is to feel out alternative suppliers to see what the wait time would be if you were forced to switch.
Three principles which can be employed for businesses are as followed:
- Impermanence – no matter how long you believe your business will last, everything that comes into being will pass out of being. It’s only fair to plan for its demise, but also to allow your business to suffer “little deaths” — changes — which are the only thing which allows life to continue. If you want your business to continue indefinitely, you can’t cling to a specific vision of your business or to a past version of your business. Accept your situation and see it newly, as if you were an outsider. What advice would you offer to someone else in your situation?
- Incompletion – it doesn’t matter how much work you’ve done, your business will always be incomplete. There is always something else than can be done. In fact, if your business were complete, it would be over: without incomplete transactions, there is no future business… and no future income. The difficulty created by incompletion — certainly the frustration — is not something to be resolved, but embraced.
- Imperfection – without this principle to moderate our approach to incompletion, we might try to make everything perfect. But everything we do is imperfect, as much as it is incomplete and impermanent. The only decisions we can make are imperfect — they’re always approximations based on our limited knowledge of the market, of our customers, of ourselves… and (obviously) of the future. But we make do, and that’s fine. A business shouldn’t go under because of small mistakes — just don’t make the bigger mistake of thinking mistakes are a big problem.