In light of recent global events, businesses may need to prepare for emergency or crisis.
Businesses should determine what kind of crisis they are likely to face and what would be critical if those events occurred.
Start by listing the types of emergencies that could reasonably affect your business, paying attention to the potential effect.
Risks to consider include:
- Identity theft
- Absence of key staff
- Loss of electricity
- Computer failure and data loss
- Other equipment failure
- Loss of major supplier or customer
For a two-week period, begin monitoring how business is conducted on a day to day basis, to better understand what the business absolutely depends on to stay in business. Consider the equipment that you rely on, the computer files you absolutely must have and what would happen if you didn’t have access to your equipment, certain employees or your facilities. If your business depends on the telephone, consider how would you get your messages and respond to them? What about online access? Are staff aware of how to redirect or pick up email if an emergency knocks out your computers? Remember, a disaster elsewhere may also be a crisis for you, especially if your business depends on distant suppliers. Develop a list of alternatives in case your regular channels become unavailable.
After you have considered the vital systems, people and access you need during that two-week period, make your contingency plan. For each of the following issues, document who or what you depend on for it and your plans for backup alternatives:
- Access to your premises
- Access to customer details
- Access to other important information
- Processing orders
- Handling phone calls
- Producing your product or service
- Access to electricity
- Access to phones
- Access to the internet
- Other important issues for your business
Finally, do not forget to organise insurance or review insurance policies. As damaging as a disaster can be, it can be a lot less devastating if insurance covers the financial losses and helps get the business going again. Start with the basics: fire, theft, liability and possible natural disaster insurance. Finally, think about getting other kinds of business insurance just in case the worst should ever happen.