I’ve spent most of the last week on vacation in Hawaii – I’m writing this from my lanai, in fact. As you might imagine, I haven’t been keeping up with the world news as much as I normally do. When your biggest concern is finding out when the tiki bar is open, watching the evening news or Twitter feed takes a back seat.

In the week before I left town, the United States began to levy tariffs against some of our largest trading partners. While I’ve been gone, those relationships seemed to have deteriorated even further. The National Pork Producers Council and North American Meat Institute have spoken out about the dangers of trade wars between our country’s allies and the potential damage that tariffs could cause to American agriculture. My point is that there are now many meat exporters and importers that have found their routines to be disrupted and their incomes affected. Those companies are going to have to figure out a Plan B in a hurry if they didn’t have one “just in case.”

Trade wars with our neighboring countries are an extreme example, but the fact remains that your business can change overnight. A fire can disrupt your business. A recall can affect your reputation. On the plus side, you may receive a phone call from a large potential customer tomorrow that can dramatically change your business. A viral social media post can earn you hundreds or thousands of new fans.

Even a well-established business has to be ready to adapt to change, either by necessity or choice. Tying all of your business to one particular niche is a great concept – as long as that niche remains profitable. Having multiple business facets, multiple brands and multiple customers will help to mitigate the damages if you lost a particular market. Having a versatile processing facility will help you when a new opportunity presents itself. Maintaining good relationships with your fellow processors will pay dividends if you need a co-packer or if someone comes to you with a business proposition. Spreading your eggs over as many baskets as possible will help you when one part of your business takes a downward turn.

As always, mahalo (thank you) for reading.