Guide

Business continuity and crisis management

Minimise the potential impact of crises

Risks and uncertainty are part of everyday business, but not all crises have to become business disasters. It is possible to mitigate against some dangers to reduce losses and lessen their impact.

Here are some crisis-mitigating strategies that will help you prepare and prevent minor risks from escalating into full-blown catastrophes.

Business premises

Effective flood planning can minimise the flood risk to your business and prevent potential flood damage to your premises. See how to protect your business from flooding.

Good electrical and gas safety could help protect premises against fire. Installing fire and burglar alarms also makes sense. See how to carry out fire safety and risk assessment.

Create a contingency plan for an event where you can't use your premises. For example, you may want to:

  • share premises with another business temporarily if a crisis affected either of you
  • use a business continuity supplier that offers alternative premises at short notice

Make sure that you consider the benefits and costs of each possible solution.

IT and communications

Installing anti-virus software, backing up data and ensuring the right maintenance agreements are in place can all help protect your IT systems. You might also consider paying an IT company to regularly back up your data offsite on a secure server.

Printing out copies of your customer database can be a good way of ensuring you can still contact customers if your IT system fails. See best practices on IT risk management.

Staff

Try to ensure you're not dependent on a few staff for key skills by getting them to train other people. Consider whether you could get temporary cover from a recruitment agency if illness left you without several key members of staff. And take health and safety seriously to reduce the risk of staff injuries. Read about managing the welfare of people.

Transport

Document how each member of staff gets to work. Consider establishing a car sharing scheme or providing staff with transport to and from work. Encourage the use of public transport. Provide IT support systems to facilitate home working should the need arise. Read about workplace travel planning.

Equipment, machinery, materials, etc

If you use vital pieces of equipment, you may want to cover them with maintenance plans guaranteeing a fast emergency call-out.

Consider stockpiling mission critical supplies and materials. Create a list of alternative supplies should your main supplier be unable to deliver the goods and materials you require.

Insurance

Insurance forms a central part of an effective risk-management strategy. See how to insure your business and assets and insure your business - people, life and health.