Business Continuity – How Small Businesses Can Better Prepare for the Unexpected

In a world where more small businesses fail than succeed, it’s important to plan ahead as much as possible in order to prepare yourself for problems that can arise out of the blue. Whatever industry you’re in, planning for a rainy day dramatically increases your chances of survival. Whether you run a shop, have a construction business or work as an independent contractor providing essential advice and services to other companies, protecting your business with a continuity plan of some sort is well worth your time.

While large corporations have the resources to recruit whole teams to create business continuity plans and carry out risk assessments, or outsource this task to specialist agencies, smaller businesses usually have to take a more simplified DIY approach. In fact, if the latest research is anything to go by, many small businesses are winging it month by month without any kind of emergency plan in place at all.

Here are a few tips on how to ensure your business is better equipped for dealing with the unexpected…

Prepare for technology failures

From computers to cash registers, most small businesses rely on technology on a day-to-day basis. But what happens if your computer crashes when you’re right on deadline or your only cash register decides to jam when you have an endless queue of customers waiting to be served?

Thinking about how you could deal with these scenarios in advance will help you manage more efficiently when issues strike.

Investing in remote back-up systems for your server, keeping a spare computer or cash register on standby for emergencies, or getting right back to basics with a calculator, cash book and receipt slips, are some possible solutions to technology failure.

Keep your business insurance up-to-date

Most small business owners understand the importance of being properly covered with business insurance, but it’s also vital to check your policy on a regular basis to make sure you’re still adequately protected.

The nature of business is that circumstances chance all of the time. Maybe you’ve moved to new premises, opened a second branch, introduced new services or taken on your first employee. Any of these changes would mean that your business insurance needed to be urgently updated.

Different types of businesses require different cover and this is why The Insurance Octopus creates bespoke business insurance policies tailored to individual requirements. Besides the core insurance essentials such as professional indemnity, public liability, employers’ liability and buildings cover, there are various add-ons that strengthen your protection further.

For example, business interruption insurance can be a great investment that provides thorough protection in the aftermath of a crisis. While buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing your office or shop following freak weather such as severe flooding, business interruption insurance would cover any financial or trade losses incurred during the period when your business was down.

Regularly monitor staffing levels

Small businesses generally don’t have a lot of staff. Therefore, just one employee being off sick can have a massive impact. It’s important to have a process in place for covering staff sickness and holidays so that you aren’t caught off guard when a member of staff who was supposed to be opening your shop or café one morning doesn’t turn up due to a family emergency.

Giving your staff members an out-of-hours mobile number to reach you in emergencies like this is a good idea, as is having a pool of flexible and reliable employees that can be called upon for cover if necessary.

The best thing you can do for protecting your business is to have a strong business insurance plan in place.

If you’re looking to improve your current policy or want to double check that it’s adequate for your current business needs, get in touch with experts at the Insurance Octopus today.