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Wednesday Wisdom: Planning for Loss – A Lesson in Business and Life from Hurricane Ian

October 5, 2022

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Motivation for Women Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners

Sanibel Island Lighthouse 2019 – Tracy Higginbotham

There have been few times in my life when the statement, “I’ve lost everything” came from my lips. We all go through life hoping and praying for fate to be kind. Sometimes we have some control over outcomes and other times we don’t. It is that simple.

Sanibel Island 2018 – Tracy Higginbotham

For the past 25 years, my husband, sons and I have vacationed on the most beautiful island in the world, Sanibel Island, Florida. We discovered it on a short trip across the Sunshine State to meet my cousin who was living near it at the time. It was one of those random day trips with our 3 and 6 year old sons in tow hoping to show them another sandy beach to pick seashells and jump in the warm waters. Little did we know on that fateful trip, Sanibel would grab our hearts and return us there annually. The walls of my house are proof of our love with images of it all over; especially our September 29, 2019 trip where my husband and I renewed our vows on her white shores with our grown sons as our witnesses.

The Higginbotham’s – September 29, 2019

By now you know that Hurricane Ian has devastated this tropical paradise we called home. A profound sense of sadness at the loss of something so beautiful is hard to explain. A woman I follow on Facebook keeps Island fans like us updated yearlong with morning videos, sunsets, local news, and the serenity of the beaches almost every day until a few days ago when all she wrote in her post was, “I’ve lost everything.”

Years ago at the annual WISE Conference put on by Syracuse University, one of my business friends got up on stage and spoke of losing everything she had with her once popular national business, announcing that she declared bankruptcy. She wasn’t scared to share the news or embarrassed by it, she simply wanted to tell her story so other women wouldn’t repeat her mistakes. I’ve never been more proud of a business person than her. Years later she relocated to Florida where she died of cancer with her humor, pride, and spirit intact.

SanibelCauseway Bridge – Post Hurricane Ian

As women entrepreneurs we can’t assume the blue sky above us will always be there and that our bountiful bank account will remain high, because one day like so many businesses that are struck with fires, floods, and storms, they might come our way. As simple as the thought of insurance, back up plans, and emergency planning might seem, do we have what we really need in case something strikes us one Thursday morning and when we overcome it, will we share it with others so one day they won’t have such a hard time?

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is meant to have you double check your back up business plans, insurances, staffing, credit lines, vendors, and other forms of security in case something unexpected occurs to you, your property, or your community. We don’t want to think bad thoughts, but honestly we must. Being a worst-case scenario planner is much better than other potential scenarios. Buck up and get an action plan in place if you don’t have one so you are as prepared as you can be.

Sanibel Shells – Tracy Higginbotham

The skies are already blue over Sanibel Island, but the businesses and homes demolished by an unexpected force of nature, will remain in the dark for a long time. The only way back up, is through, for them and hopefully not for those of us fortunate enough to pay attention and have substantial plans in place and good fate on our sides.

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