No matter how big or small your business is, there is always a potential crisis. Everything from the IT infrastructure going down and stock damage to staff illness can be a risk for your business, which is why planning for these scenarios is key.
This guide will discuss how you can identify potential risks and how to manage them.
Setting out your plan
While working on your risk assessment, you should create a business continuity plan in case things go wrong. The plan should include potential problems, how you can minimize the chance of them happening and how you will react if it does.
Implementing regular backups for all computers, keeping building insurance up to date, and incorporating ways to protect employee wellbeing and health can all be added to your plan.
1) Assessing and minimizing the impact of risk
Analyzing a range of scenarios and consequences will give you a better idea of the essential functions and systems for the day to day running of the business. For example, while analyzing the potential for staff illness, you may find that some jobs can be temporarily paused or doubled up to help manage productivity while employees are off sick.
2) Protecting your business against risk
This is the next step in ensuring your business can continue healthily and safety whatever life throws at you.
A few ideas for protection include:
- Installing fire and burglar alarms
- Enlist another business to temporarily share premises if your office can no longer be used.
- Ensure that you have emergency fuel services to maintain business continuity when power outages happen.
- Create maintenance plans for emergency call outs for servicing and fixing equipment
- Use anti-virus software on all computers
- Back up your data offsite
- Train staff on a variety of tools and jobs
- Provide staff the ability to work from home
3) Take a trial run
In the same way businesses have to implement fire drills, it is a good idea to make sure everyone has tested or is aware of the continuity plan without a real threat in place.
By ensuring that everyone knows what their role within an emergency would be, you can protect your business from being hard hit by any crisis that does occur. It is within the first few moments or hours of a crisis that can determine how well your business recovers, so putting in place regular practice runs could be the difference between getting through, and losing your business for good.
During a trial, you will likely find other areas you have not previous thought of. For example, you might need to add a PR plan to your continuity strategy. How will you maintain your business’s reputation during and after a crisis?
It is also a good idea to ensure your plan has room for additional contact details for locksmiths, electricians, the bank, and the local council – you really never know who you will need to call during a crisis.
After each practice, open the floor to employees from all rankings to discuss their roles, how they felt, and if they have any additional improvements or changes to suggest.
Creating a continuity plan is everyone’s responsibility. By working together and creating a simple to follow plan that covers all the bases, you have every chance of coming out of crisis stronger.