It's essential to plan thoroughly to protect yourself from the impact of potential business crises. This could include; fire, flood, theft, IT system failure, restricted access to premises or illness of key staff.
Business continuity planning
This planning is very important for small businesses since they often lack the resources to cope easily in a crisis.
Failure to plan could be disastrous. At best you risk losing customers while you're getting your business back on its feet. At worst your business may never recover and may ultimately cease trading.
As part of the business continuity planning process you should:
- identify potential crises that might affect you
- determine how you will reduce the risks of these disasters occurring
- set out how you'll react if a disaster occurs in a business continuity plan
- test the plan regularly
For example, if you're reliant on computer information, you should put a back-up system in place so you have a copy of key data in the event of a system failure.
Benefits of a business continuity plan
A carefully thought-out business continuity plan will make coping in a crisis easier and enable you to minimise disruption to the business and its customers.
It will also prove to customers, insurers and investors that your business is robust enough to cope with anything that might be thrown at you - possibly giving you the edge over your competitors or lower insurance premiums.
Business continuity standard
Your business may also benefit from adopting a business continuity standard.
ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management is the international business continuity standard. It specifies the requirements for a Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) to protect against, reduce the likelihood of, and ensure your business recovers from disruptive incidents.