It’s the nightmare scenario that keeps business owners up and down the country awake at night. Suddenly, disaster strikes out of the blue and everything that you have worked so hard to build comes crumbling down. Before you decided to get into business, you will have known that the risks were out there, but didn’t want to think that they could happen to you. The old saying still seems to ring true: expect the best, prepare for the worst.
It’s important that you have a contingency plan in place should anything go drastically wrong. Business continuity is absolutely essential in times of crisis. If your clients sense that something has gone seriously wrong, they are more likely to start to panic and move their business elsewhere. This can create a domino effect, and before you know what has happened, your business has collapsed.
Here are just a few things you can do to give yourself peace of mind.
In days gone by, an office fire would be the ultimate disaster that could befall your business. All your important files would go up in flames, and it would be a nightmare to try and get things up and running again. As everything is now stored online, the modern equivalent is a virus infecting your system and everything being wiped out. While this may not be terminal for a business, there’s no doubt that it would be an enormous setback.
You should make sure all your most important data is safe by using a cloud-based backup system. This has the added advantage of making your files easily accessible from wherever you are in the world. Business is no longer fixed in place, and cloud storage gives you that ultimate flexibility that you need.
As a business owner, there are various different types of insurance that you can get to keep yourself covered. For example, public and employers liability insurance is one that covers you should you be liable for illness or injury to your employers or third parties. You can also get specific disaster insurance to cover damage to your business caused by natural events. It’s worth consulting with the experts to make sure you are protected should the worst happen. Insurance also serves to give you peace of mind, so you are free to operate without major worries constantly looming over your head.
Prepare Your Employees
A huge number of top performing businesses regard their employees as their number one asset. Even if it doesn’t seem like a disaster is imminent, you should keep them prepared. You will need to rely on them to keep your business running in times of crisis, so it’s essential that they are well briefed. You may even want to have a guidebook created so they have something tangible that they can refer to. While it’s important not to worry employees unnecessarily as this can cause a situation where they are no longer able to focus on their work, keeping them informed of developments in the business is important.
Have A Contingency Plan
In the event of a crisis, you need to know which parts of your business are essential for its successful running. These are the functions that you will need to keep going when times get tough. If you are unable to continue running your business from the site it’s at now, establish a secondary location. When you are in a crisis, the most crucial thing is that your business continues performing as normal. You contingency plan should be detailed, and you should run through the whole thing at least twice a year with your employees.
Save Your Revenue
When you get paid by a client, you should put ten percent into a high interest savings account and leave it there. When it reaches a certain amount, you should then get some advice from an investment specialist who can tell you what the best thing to do with it is. Now that you have started to build up a cash reserve, you can have peace of mind that if you start to have any issues, you have some capital in reserve ready to reinvest in your business. Before saving, you should pay off any debt as soon as possible so that this isn’t hanging over your head.
Value Your Accounts Team
These are the people who keep your business running, so make sure you meet with them on a regular basis to make sure everything is going as it should. Continually reassess how you are spending your money to avoid overstretching yourself. Even if things seem to be going very well, you should always exercise a degree of caution. Though business expansion is extremely important, if you do this too quickly, you are more likely to rush ahead of yourself and lose out in the long run.
Develop Close Business Relationships
You’ll be in a much better position if you have developed a close set of business relationships. If you become friendly with your clients, they are more likely to keep faith with you if the worse should happen. As I’ve said already, if all your clients suddenly jump ship, you’ll find that your business sinks before you even have a chance to save it. All business owners know that it is never going to be smooth sailing all the time. Friends will stick by you, while people who are treated as clients are likely to be less sentimental.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Whether or not you manage to pull your business back from disaster, you should always learn from what has gone wrong so that it doesn’t happen to you again. Work out what you could have done differently, and make sure you make the necessary adjustments to your business model. However, sometimes you have to accept that there’s not a huge amount you could have done to have prevented disaster striking. Business is often about luck, as much as having a great product or excellent attitude.