business resilience check

The following list is not exhaustive. It aims to give you some ideas to include in a plan to ensure the survival of business should a major crisis, emergency or incident happen. And, if it seems too much effort consider the sobering fact that 90% of businesses suffering a disaster go bust within 18 months!

1) Identify the key personnel and their responsibilities in the event of a crisis or disaster.

Who is in charge? What is the hierarchy of command? Who does what? Prepare an internal communications plan.

2) Keep back up data off site. This should include computer software and an extra list of telephone contacts for all employees - you may need it if you can’t get access to your business address. Include back-ups of anything you can’t do without – data-bases, customer lists, suppliers, contacts etc etc.

3) Keep an up to date list of all contacts for emergency services, utility companies, local authorities, hospitals etc.

4) Make a list of computers, machinery and vital equipment and work out how you would replace it if you had to. What is most important? How long would it take to get replacements? Can you get any guarantees on replacements if you needed to? What does your insurance cover say about replacing equipment?

5) If you are a leaseholder, make sure you can get hold of the management company quickly. What is its responsibility in the event of a disaster? Agree procedures now to restore the fabric of the building in the event of an emergency. If you own the building, consider contacts with estate agents and commercial dealers. What would you do if you had to move to temporary accommodation? Where would you go? Could you have a portacabin on site?

6) Work out what contractual obligations you have with suppliers, clients, customers etc. What will happen if you default on business contacts? What are the penalties? What can you do about it? What could you offer by way of compensation? Goodwill may go a long way with established clients, but as a business you need to fulfil your commitments.

7) Can you get alternative suppliers if necessary? Maybe you need to replace stock fast. Where can you get it? Have a network in place. It might not be perfect, but would safe a lot of unnecessary legwork later on when you might be under severe pressure.

8) Train staff to cope in an emergency. It is not just the fire drill routine you have to think of. Do you have a severe weather policy – eg snow policy.? Can staff work from home if necessary? If employees know their roles they feel more secure.

9) Check your insurance policies thoroughly. What do they cover? What is omitted? What help is available? If you are not satisfied shop around and get the cover that gives peace of mind. If you have been with the same insurer for some time it will pay to shop around and you may well get extra cover for less costs.

10) Contact your local authority - it can help you draw up a business resilience policy tailored to your business.

useful websites: If you are in a flood hazard area you can check with the Environment Agency (Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland) and receive flood warnings.


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