Last week, I had lunch with my niece. She’s interested in becoming a writer and she wanted to talk about what to expect. I explained to her the many encouraging and discouraging things I’ve learned about being a writer. She had to make a decision with her eyes open. I hope that what she took away was this: be prepared. The publishing world is tough, especially now that it is changing so rapidly. Just like business continuity and IT.
If she wants to be successful, she needs to take the time to figure out exactly what she wants to accomplish. She will need to do a lot of research, then set up a plan for how she’s going to accomplish it. When those disastrously dark days come (and they will come when you’re trying to be a professional writer), she’ll have the support of her knowledge, planning, and ambition to carry her through.
When I got back to work, I realized that what I’d said applies to businesses, too. A lot of things can get in the way of your success. The best way to protect yourself from all of it is to have a plan. A business continuity plan. Of course you know that. You don’t want your business to be swept away by some disaster. But as I told my niece, there’s more to watch out for than disasters. There’s change.
One of the biggest challenges she’ll face in becoming a writer will be the massive impact that the Internet has had on the world of publishing. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but change is also a pretty fundamental part of the IT world as well. Just think about the evolution from the standard BIOS to the new and improved Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). Changes like this add all sorts of new functionality to your computer, but they also bring questions and challenges.
This is just one example, but we all know that changes like this are happening all the time. SOPA/PIPA nearly changed the way websites run. Windows is continually evolving with new versions. Mobile computing is becoming more and more prevalent. It’s one thing to have a plan in place that protects you against user error, or hacker attacks, or natural disasters, but have you thought about how to protect yourself against change?
As I told my niece, the key is to take your time, figure out what your long-term business goals are, and then make a plan. If you’re prepared, if you know that change is coming and you’ve thought in advance about how to deal with that change, then you’ll be able to deal with it when it comes.