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Risky Business Is your business ready to deal with the unexpected?

By Chris Penttila

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

New York City-based Plum Organics was two weeks away from a production run of its organic kids' meals when the phone rang. On the other line was the company's organic cheese supplier.

"They said, 'We're out of organic parmesan cheese because there's a shortage of organic milk,'" recalls Plum Organics' founder, Gigi Lee Chang. The supplier said it expected a shipment of organic milk to arrive soon and that it could probably meet 3-year-old Plum Organics' production deadline. Chang was skeptical. She called another supplier, but because its organic parmesan wasn't fully aged, Chang, 41, feared it would change the taste of the product.

She weighed her options: She could either rely on her primary supplier to come through, or use the parmesan the secondary supplier had to offer? She decided to take a risk and go with the secondary supplier after testing some samples. Plum Organics met its production run, but "it was a very stressful two weeks," says Chang. "You try to ask questions to figure out what the risk is, and when you make your bet, hopefully it's going to turn out."

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