In your personal life, you probably have things in place to protect you in the case of an emergency. For example, let’s say you get into a car accident where you get injured. Depending on the auto insurance you have, your plan may cover the damages the vehicle sustained. In addition to that, your health insurance will hopefully cover a significant portion of your medical bills.
However, insurance is just one protection we set up for ourselves. Another protection could be something as simple as having candles and a crank-powered flashlight if the power goes out. Many households also have an emergency fund just in case.
We have these things to prepare for situations that we are not expecting but could possibly happen. Altogether, these things add up to a contingency plan. Businesses require a business contingency plan as well to ensure they are prepared and able to continue operations if an adverse event does occur.
Business contingency planning will depend on the size of the business, the structure of the business, the industry of the business, and more. However, many aspects of business contingency planning will be similar – no matter the business. This is why we wanted to provide you with a few basics tips to see if your business is ready for the unexpected.
Identify Your Risks
There are a number of different events that could cause a blow to the operations of a business. We divided them into several categories:
No business is disaster-proof. The most common natural disasters that could affect a business include flooding, hurricanes, tornado, blizzards, severe thunderstorms, and even hurricanes. A power outage from lost data could wipe out key data or disrupt operations. Flooding could cause significant damage and destroy equipment or items for sale.
What would happen if a valuable employee got sick, had to take a leave of absence to care for a sick parent, or quit altogether? Do you have the framework in place to cover for that person until he or she returns or you hire someone else?
Purchasing and Sales
If a key vendor goes out of business or you lose a credit account, would you be able to carry on without disrupting services or offerings? What would happen if an item or service you sell suddenly tumbles in interest?
Develop a Strategy to Offset These Risks
Once you identify your risks, it’s is time to prioritize these risks and create a business contingency plan to address your needs. For example, if the power goes out for a significant period of time, how quickly will you be able to get a generator for rent to restore power? It might make sense to speak with a rental equipment provider like Carrier Rental Systems beforehand to assess your needs and determine the best generator for you. Obviously, you should have some form of insurance as well as data recovery in the form of cloud storage or some other means to keep your data protected. In addition to that, you should have a timeline in place so everyone knows that to do in the first hour, the first day, and even the first week of an event depending on what that event is. There should be a point of contact whom others should look to in the event of an emergency. The goal is to be as prepared as possible so everyone remains calm and knows what to do to get back to business.