You need to analyse the probability and consequences of crises that could affect your business. This involves assessing the likelihood of a particular crisis occurring – and its possible frequency as well as determining its possible impact on your operations.
This kind of analysis should help you to identify which business functions are essential to day-to-day business operations. You’re likely to conclude that certain roles within the business – while necessary in normal circumstances – aren’t absolutely critical in a disaster scenario.
Minimise the potential impact of crises
Once you have identified the key risks your business faces, you need to take steps to protect your business functions against them.
Good electrical and gas safety could help protect premises against fire. You should also install fire and burglar alarms.
Think what you would do in an emergency if your premises couldn’t be used. For example, you might suggest an arrangement with another local business to share premises temporarily if a crisis affected either of you.
You may consider using a business continuity supplier, which can make alternative premises available at short notice, but this can be expensive.
If you use vital pieces of equipment, you may want to cover them with maintenance plans guaranteeing a fast emergency call-out.
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.
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. Take health and safety seriously to reduce the risk of staff injuries.
Provide IT support systems to facilitate home working should the need arise.
Consider stock piling 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 forms a central part of an effective risk-management strategy. You should ensure that you get the right insurance for your business.