When starting a small business, many entrepreneurs focus on marketing, branding, search engine optimisation and product development the most. These can often be the most fun and exciting parts of starting your own business, and you can often see results instantaneously. However, you also need to put work into the more time-consuming and tedious parts of setting up a business, including planning and trying to mitigate any potential pitfalls. Setting the foundations of having a good business plan now is one of the best ways to ensure your business’ success. Here are all the best ways to plan for a potential business catastrophe.
Identify All Potential Dangers
One of the first things you need to do in order to effectively plan for a potential business catastrophe is to identify all the ways in which your company may be at risk. There are many ways you can do this, such as talking with your staff, looking at other small businesses, studying your market, and talking to risk analysts. This way, you will be able to assess and rank any potential risks to your company, and make a plan for how you can get around them. The recent pandemic has proved that a global illness could stop your business operations, so having a plan surrounding working from home (if needed) should be a part of your business plan. Natural disasters such as a flood, or a fire, could prevent your business from operating as normal. Risks to your business could be as benign as a routine power cut, or as severe as a financial disaster or large-scale cyber attack. By identifying all possible threats, you can make emergency response plans in order to mitigate the damage.
Create Emergency Response Plans
There are many steps you may need to take when creating emergency response plans for each possible threat, and these should be set out clearly in your plans. For example, your first port of call should be how you can keep your employees safe (this is especially true when it comes to threats such as floods or fires.) Once you can be certain that your employees will be safe, you should then look into asset protection. Preventing mass damage to your assets, inventory and business property should be the next actionable step in your emergency response plan. You should also clearly set out your business protocol of who to call or contact. Make sure your staff know what their responsibilities will be in case of an emergency. For example, if your business is a victim of a cyber attack, make sure your staff know who will be contacting clients, who will contact authorities, who will shut down the company’s devices, and so on. This way, your staff will be your first line of defence if a disaster strikes your business.
Find Ways To Ensure Your Business Continuity
A good business continuity plan will help you find ways to keep your business running smoothly despite events that may hinder your progress. For example, you need to identify the strategies which will prevent the likelihood of a disaster stopping your business in full (such as data backup and recovery, emergency relief, and so on.) This will be an important step and when used in conjunction with your emergency response plans, will help you find ways to allow your business to continue. You should be testing these plans often, so you can see if there are any risks in your plan, so you can change it before something goes wrong.
Have Emergency Supplies and Funds
Having a backup of supplies and funds could be the main difference between your business failing or succeeding in spite of hardship. For example, some of this is obvious, such as having first aid kits in case of a natural disaster. However, you may need to have a stockpile of necessary supplies in case one of your suppliers goes out of business suddenly. It is also a good idea to have an emergency fund within your business, so you always have spare funds that could help you if a catastrophe strikes.
Create An ‘Emergency Contact Book’
One of the most important parts of being an entrepreneur is knowing who to contact when you need help. This is especially important in case of a business emergency. You should be creating lists of contacts for who you may need to be in touch with if the worst happens, such as local emergency management agencies. You may also need to alert major clients, suppliers, shareholders and lenders. Depending on the event, you may also need to alert certain insurance companies. Having this list of emergency contacts in multiple places will prevent the likelihood of this list from becoming lost.
Know How You’re Going To Communicate
Creating a communications strategy is very important when it comes to keeping in touch with necessary people with updates about your business. You will need to know how to keep in contact with all employees and staff, shareholders, suppliers, lenders, clients, and customers. You should use every avenue available to you to facilitate good communication. Make sure that you have multiple ways of communicating, using technology and traditional methods to ensure the communication line is not broken. Social media could be used very effectively here – this should be a major part of your strategy for mitigating damage caused by an emergency.
Backup Your Data
Most companies in the modern age are knowledgeable about the importance of backing up all of your important business information. You should be updating your backed-up data regularly, so you can make sure you will always have relevant and up-to-date information in case you need it. There are many ways you can back up your data, including the cloud, which can allow you to back up your data from anywhere. Any important records such as contracts should also be held safe in a safety deposit box as well as the cloud, for extra security.
Review Your Insurance Plan
Insurance coverage is one of the best ways your company can protect itself if a catastrophe strikes. There are many different types of insurance which could protect you in an emergency, and it’s important to review your policy to see how much you will be protected. For example, if you own your business premises, commercial building insurance will protect you financially if it is damaged by flood or fire. Credit insurance brokers could help you in the event a client is no longer able to pay you, which could be massively detrimental to your business’s finances. If your business is particularly vulnerable to a cyber attack, cyber and data insurance could protect you if your business is attacked by a large cybercriminal strike. Your insurance plans are crucial when it comes to planning for a disaster.
It is impossible to predict when a business catastrophe could strike – make sure that you are doing everything possible to plan for the worst in order to protect your business.