The world is a dangerous place, and your business is at risk. Not just the threat that a competitor will come out with a better product for half the price. Your business is at risk from everything from theft and legal liabilities to the loss of key people – and that’s before you start thinking about fire and flood. Plus there are the economic and political dangers. A revolution on the other side of the world could mean the loss of a key market or a crucial supplier.
We look at how your business can deal with emergencies.
List the risks
You need a continuity plan that will allow you to respond to any emergency, and minimise the disruption you face.
What would you do if your factory burned down? What if someone was injured by one of your products? What would happen if your workforce were in dispute? What would happen if your top salesperson had an accident as he or she rushed to meet a client?
You should even ask what you would do if your workforce lottery syndicate won the jackpot, and never came in again.
You need to have solutions in place for every possibility. If your business is unable to provide its products or services, you lose revenue immediately. You lose clients to competitors who are still open for business shortly after.
Get solutions in place
Once you know the risks you need a solution against each one on your list.
Some will be simple. Having the number of a van hire company can provide a replacement vehicle if yours is damaged or stolen. A temp agency could provide a workforce if your staff were unable to come in.
You should already have alternative sources for all the supplies you need to do business.
You also need to ensure that your computer data is backed up. These days, the Cloud makes it simple. If your work is office based, it means you could simply log in from a borrowed office, if fire or flood took out your own computers and premises.
Get insurance cover
Of course, many of the threats to your business can be dealt with by insurance. You need employers liability insurance by law. Many other types of cover are technically optional, but a business would be very rash not to have them. You need public liability cover, to protect against lawsuits if your products or service cause harm. You may need professional liability cover.
You must have up to date cover for your premises, equipment and contents. You must be able to replace key equipment, whether it is your laptop or a machine tool with a £100,000 price tag.
But what about your staff? Much of the value of your business is in their skills and knowledge. Key person insurance can’t replace them or their skills, but it could provide funds to tide your business over while you found someone who could.
This could help ensure your business could continue to trade should a partner die or become terminally or critically ill. The policy could mean that corporate debt is protected – it is usual to call in loans on the death of a borrower – and shares from a deceased director’s estate could be purchased, ensuring that the loss of a partner did not mean a loss of control of the business.
You can even find a generalised business interruption insurance, which should provide cover whatever the cause of the disruption.
Key to getting the right business cover is expert advice. So make the first item on your business continuity plan a call to Continuum.