Business continuity and crisis management

Potential business crises

Depending on your business' specific circumstances, there are many possible events that could be a crisis. Some examples of potential business disasters are:

  • Natural disasters - for example, flooding caused by burst water pipes or heavy rain, or wind damage following storms.
  • Theft or vandalism - theft of computer equipment could prove devastating. Similarly, vandalism of machinery or vehicles could be costly and pose health and safety risks.
  • Fire - few other situations have such potential to physically destroy a business.
  • Power cut - loss of power could have serious consequences. Would you be able to operate without IT or telecoms systems, key machinery or equipment?
  • Fuel shortages - temporary shortages in fuel supply could prevent staff getting to work and affect your ability to make and receive deliveries.
  • IT system failure - computer viruses, attacks by hackers or system failures could affect employees' ability to work effectively.
  • Restricted access to premises - how would your business function if you couldn't access your workplace - for example, due to a gas leak?
  • Loss or illness of key staff - how would your business cope if a key member of staff were to leave or was incapacitated by illness?
  • Outbreak of disease or infection - an outbreak of an infectious disease among your staff, in your premises or among livestock could present serious health and safety risks.
  • Terrorist attack - consider the risks to your employees and business operations from a terrorist strike, either where you are located or you and your employees travel. Also consider whether an attack may have a longer-term effect on your particular market or sector.
  • Crises affecting suppliers - how would you source alternative supplies?
  • Crises affecting customers - will insurance or customer guarantees offset a client's inability to take your goods or services?
  • Crises affecting your business' reputation - how would you cope, for example, in the event of a product recall?

Though some of these scenarios may seem unlikely, it's still wise to consider them. See assess the possible impact of risks on your business.