Your business may be buzzing, while your plan is working perfectly, and disaster strikes within a second. Recessions and pandemics have knocked entire sectors of the economy off their ashes.
Government interference has rendered business models irrelevant at the stroke of a pen.
Even on a much smaller level, a local infrastructure change or a utility accident can undo the best plans.
Any business that doesn’t prepare is in danger of failing.
But how do you plan for the unexpected? There are some indicators to be found, but natural disasters and accidents surprise everyone. But that doesn’t mean you’re defenseless in the face of unfortunate circumstances.
There may be setbacks that are unavoidable, but a company with a well-established contingency plan can recover much faster than its competition.
Here are a few ways to insulate your business from the fickle finger of fate:
Natural disasters don’t have to close small businesses
No one is more vulnerable to a sudden disaster than a small business. Faced with the possibility that their product or service may no longer be needed, a supply chain company will usually have the financial stability to withstand adversity from restructuring to ensure they survive through tough times.
However, a small business often barely makes it from one fiscal month to the next and has no choice but to close permanently.
So how can this be avoided without the deep pockets of a big company? It depends on the circumstances, but the most successful companies are those that secure their financial stability when given the opportunity.
A crisis plan that stores a percentage of excess profits for backup when things slow down has the best chance of holding up once the dust settles.
Communication channels can remain open
Sometimes the biggest challenge in a crisis is making the right decisions in the moment.
This is incredibly complicated when the person who has the last word is unavailable, such as the boss is out of the office and the phone lines on site are unavailable.
Ensuring uninterrupted channels of communication is one of the most important things a boss can do to protect their business.
If you’re still dependent on traditional landlines — or even paper documents — you could be setting yourself up for disaster. Lost inventory can be replaced, but lost history cannot.
This is why many companies are switching to cloud PBX system software for their communication and storage.
These services combine all communication systems into one easy-to-use virtual network and can also store all your valuable data off-site with a third-party company for added security.
Staff should be well taken care of
Your employees are doing their best to keep the business moving forward and they shouldn’t get bogged down when the business is going through a financial crisis.
The federally mandated Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires you to notify your workforce of closure at least 60 days in advance, but it applies to organizations with 100 or more employees.
Have some emergency funds in place to cover the final paycheck or severance pay if your organization faces the certainty of a complete shutdown.
Saved insurance information can help restart
In the aftermath of a damaging emergency, how quickly you recover can depend on how much information you have on hand.
Losing your insurance papers in the fire can delay financial compensation for a long time. That’s why it’s important not only to have good insurance, but also to know how to access it.
The first step is to have more than one copy of your insurance information. Ideally you should have it on site in case of an inspection, have a copy off site and have it digitally stored for safekeeping.
This will help you develop a business continuity plan where you know how much money you have on hand to rebuild.
No one wants to think about a possible disaster.
However, having a plan can help your business recover and build back stronger.
Planning before disaster strikes is key to ensuring your small business survives and lasts.