Small businesses fight hard to survive. As a start-up, you’re automatically in a more vulnerable position than a larger company with more staff, more resources and deeper pockets. When disaster strikes, it hits smaller businesses disproportionately hard, and can even end up being the ruin of them. Unexpected situations are a fact of life, but when they wreak havoc on a small enterprise and interrupt their usual operations, serious damage can be caused to both the financial health of the company, and, crucially, it’s professional image. How you deal with it is absolutely crucial and can make or break your fortunes. The answer lies in developing detailed contingency plans for likely worst case scenarios – so if the worst does happen, you and your staff know exactly what to do.
Personalize Your Plan
Successful contingency planning is all about understanding the risks that are likely to occur in your particular sector and area of business, plus your physical location. There isn’t much use planning for an earthquake if you operate in a region where that’s unlikely – however, if your business is in Osaka or Los Angeles, then it should be a part of your considerations. You need to think of the big worst case scenarios and also the smaller, more personal ones. Is your business vulnerable to the theft of personal data? Are you located on a flood plain? Do several of your staff likely have plans to start young families and request parental leave? Prepare the plans that you need, whether that is a Hvac Contingency Plan to keep you operating in the summer, or succession planning if you have elderly employees heading for retirement. Once you’ve identified the most likely setbacks for your situation, you can draw up a focused and concise plan rather than wasting resources planning for events which are highly unlikely to happen.
Decide Your Operational Essentials
What is absolutely necessary for your business to carry on running? For some it may just be a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection, while other businesses will have a far more complex set-up. Determine the bare minimum that you will require to keep operation under a range of challenging conditions, and then take steps to secure this – from moving all files to a cloud-based secure server to establishing links with a great temping agency to cover people going off sick.
Don’t Skimp On Insurance
One expense that you should never neglect is having the appropriate insurance coverage in place for your business. Make sure you are covered against any likely natural disasters for premises and stock, against theft both internal and external, physical and digital. If you offer professional services or advice, you may also want to consider liability insurance – it may be even be necessary to have a valid licence to practice in your location. There would be nothing worse than disaster striking only to realize you have no cover – it can quite literally destroy a small business and everything you have worked for, so make sure you’re prepared. Being well covered is never a waste of time or money – if something bad happens your business will still be viable and you don’t need to risk losing your livelihood. Think of it as buying your future self peace of mind!