Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but they can be especially vulnerable when it comes to protecting themselves against disasters. While the nature of the disaster can vary, the impact on the business is still experienced, COVID 19 was a good example of how an unexpected event can forever change the way a business is run.
Business continuity planning is a critical factor for consideration, an in-depth risk analysis will determine if your business will survive, or not, and how to minimize the impact. A continuity plan that is reviewed regularly should be incorporated into the business standard operating processes.
What is business continuity – and why is it so important?
Business continuity is the ability to resume operations after a disaster and maintain quality service. For small businesses, preparing for a variety of disasters and risks, with the resources to do so implies that there needs to be a high level of preparedness and upskilling within the business.
There is a wide range of business continuity templates available, and most provide great guidance in terms of what to be thinking about. We highlight additional factors that should be incorporated into your planning:
Understand your business processes
Creating a step-by-step flow of every business process is a good way to start with your continuity planning. By knowing every step of the process, you are able to:
- identify who is accountable
- the type of resources that are required
- If in crisis, what alternative process or adjustments needs to be put in place
- Who is impacted by the process
- What are the risks involved
Take the COVID 19 pandemic for example:
Small businesses were forced to adhere to restrictions requirements, this severely impacted the way in which businesses would normally operate. The impact was seen in supply chains, not being able to engage with customers in the same way and needed to shift online immediately. For a kind of transition of this nature to take place, customer communication would be required detailing the new way of operating, the nature of the new business services, and stand the risk of losing customer loyalty. There was also the need to engage staff about the changes that would be implemented, change in processes, ensure adequate upskilling of staff and create transparency with staff about the success of the changes, the impact on the business, and business sustainability.
Can you function in a manual – mode?
We often become reliant on our automated operations to guide us. An invoice would be detailed and printed/communicated automatically. But what if automation fails? Are you and all your staff able to function in manual mode? Would you have errors on your invoices for instance that would later present complications? There is a need not only to understand the step-by-step process but also the principles and logic of each step so that a seamless transition can take place. Knowing, what to do, why to do it, and then how to do it is essential!
Do you have the necessary insurance?
Is your business sufficiently protected financially? what available insurance cover should you be considering? does it cover your business for all possible risks? Do you have an income protection policy? If you were a business that was impacted by COVID 19, you would remember what the impact of not having suitable insurance cover was on your business.
Regardless of the size or impact of the risk, a risk presents challenges. In order to be fully prepared and maximize profits in your corporation, planning is essential. If you would like more support, start your business with B.E.T, your digital business manager and mentor, you won’t have to take on your business challenges alone.