Do you understand the importance of having a contingency plan for your business in case unforseen challenges arise? If so are your staff aware of what they should do? Find out about the importance of risk assessments and contingency planning by downloading our handy guide or reading about it below.
How does this apply to me?
If you are a UK business owner then you will be aware that the past three years have been extremely challenging due to the pressures of brexit, extreme weather and cyber attacks.
You should ensure that you have the correct measures in place in order to be able to deal any potential challenges that may face your business and how they may affect your staff.
If you have not thought ahead to what may face your business in the future then it is essential that you should start developing a contingency plan for your business.
If you have already thought about challenges and have a plan in place, then it is important that you communicate this with your staff.
It is not enough for just one person to be in control of the information because if that person wasn’t there then your staff would not know what to do.
What is a contingency plan?
The purpose of a contingency plan is to provide a Plan B for your business in case a unforseen event occurs to enable your business to operate and avoid the business being closed.
Every business will have a different contingency plan depending on the incidents that may occur, but it is a key doccument for every business regardless of its size as this plan can make or break your business.
How do I create a contingency plan?
The first step to creating your business a contingency plan is to start by putting together an operational guide for your business, which will outline what keeps the business running such as who your suppliers are and when they are paid.
The second step of the process is to outline the key roles and responsibilities of every staff member and have a doccument highlighting the weekly tasks so that a replacement could take over their duties.
You should then have a doccument, which has the details for how long each operation would take to step up, if it was to ever close down.
This contingency plan could also be used as a handbook for new employees, ensuring that the same proccess is followed and maintained effectively.
You should also make sure that you have copies off-site and saved online just in case you cannot get access to the office.
Assess the risks
Focus on identifying the most likely risks to your business.
The three questions you should ask are:
1). What could happen?
2). What is the best response?
3). What are you going to do to prepare yourself and your business?
The most common likely events to occur to your business will be the internet going down, being hit by a cyber-attack or a disruption preventing your staff getting in to the office.
You should make sure that you prioritise the risks according to what is the most likely event to occur, you can do this by using a probability or risk impact chart.
Minimise the risks
Once the risks have been assessed, you should put them in an order of priority and create a plan to mitigate the risks by having safeguards in place.
The plan should include a step-by-step guide that outlines what to do to keep the business running smoothly once the event has taken place.
The plan should include:
- A list of everyone from both inside and outside the company with their contact details who should be informed when the event occurs.
- The likely progression of the events and how you should communiacte it with staff and customers.
- The essentials that you would need to keep operating .
The internet is a very important tool for your business, so it is important that you have multiple back-ups that are kept off-site just in case of a potentail cyber-attack or data breach.
Maintain the plan
If you have created your contingency plan, then the final step is that to make sure that everyone understands their role and responsibility if the plan is activated.
It is essential that the plan is reviewed and updated regularly to keep up wih any operational or technological changes.
Make sure that the plan is located in a safe and accessible place and that all employees are aware of its location.
If you are a business owner and do not have a up to date contingency plan, then make sure that you implement one as soon as possible to prepare for any challenges that may face your business.
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