There are many types of disaster that can impact your business, from the obvious fire and theft to the more obscure such as loss of key personnel or power for an extended period of time.

According to AXA 80% of businesses affected by a major incident either never reopen, or close within 18 months.

What can be done to avert disaster?

These 5 simple steps will set you on the path to being better prepared, should the unthinkable happen:

  1. Plan – The simple process of realistically assessing risk to your business and considering the “what if” scenarios. Take the first step by asking each of the owners / managers to write down the top 5 risks to staying in business. The collated results may be surprising to see how many risks you face. Then create a plan. It doesn’t need to be complex, a single page bulleted list will suffice with the risk in the left column, and how you intend to mitigate them in the right.
  2. Insurance – We have a tendency of viewing Insurance as a necessary evil / expense. In truth we hope we will never need it, but when was the last time you took a close look at your business coverage? Is your business covered for loss of income in the event you are unable to trade? Have you considered the eventuality of a partner being removed from the business while actively involved?
  3. Backup – Most companies are now data intensive to the point of not keeping paper based files. Be sure to consider the appropriate technology / disaster recovery for you company. Start by asking “how long could we be down before it affects revenue”. Consult with your technology provider to determine the best solution that meets your business continuity needs.
  4. Knowledge Repository / Sharing – We all live in a fast paced business environment where owners and employees wear many hats. However, occasionally pausing to make sure key pieces of proprietary knowledge or business critical information such as master passwords are preserved, could pay dividends in the event of catastrophe.
  5. Annual Review – Just like your teeth, your disaster plan needs a checkup at least once a year. Once you have a plan in place, schedule you review on your calendar for one year from its creation.  It’ll stop you procrastinating about scheduling the review, when next year arrives.

In recent months several of our clients have faced such adversity, but fortunately were well prepared and weathered the proverbial storm. I urge you to act today and start planning for the worst, so you’re not part of the 80% that never recover from an unforeseen catastrophe.