Fail to plan, plan to fail

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We’ve all heard the phrase, and to be fair you probably have a fair few plans in place, a strategic business plan, a sales plan etc. But how about a plan for those unexpected, what if moments?

After all, what if:

  • Your data security is compromised? Adverse weather means your staff and customers are unable to get to your premises?
  • Your key sales person suffers from a long term illness?

Unplanned events can result in increased workload and, if not managed effectively, can lead to loss of customers and profit. Having a plan in place that you can turn to in the event of an incident is a critical step towards managing risk.

Success ultimately depends on effective planning and preparation. When you have worked so hard to build your business why wouldn’t you want to have response plans in place to help avoid and minimise disruption.

What is an effective response plan?

An effective response plan will identify the specific risks your business is exposed to and help you prioritise them; highlighting precautions to reduce such risks and establishing suitable contingency steps to take should a threat occur.

By having a plan in place it will help you to respond quickly to any unexpected incident or event, it will also help you respond to any negative press, minimising its impact and giving your stakeholders confidence in the organisation helping you to get your business back on its feet as quickly as possible.

What are the risks?

These are the threats that will affect the most vital functions of your business and can come under the following categories:

  • Buildings – denial of access, destruction
  • Staff – loss of key staff with crucial skills, large staff absence (transport issue etc.)
  • Utility – electricity, water, IT etc.
  • Uncontrollable disasters – fire, floods
  • Legal & criminal – terrorism, theft, vandalism
  • Data issues – loss of contacts, contracts etc.

Practice makes perfect

It’s easy to create a plan and put it in a draw for a later date, and sometimes, never look at it again. We’ve all done it. But when it comes to protecting your business, testing and updating the plan is vital to making it work. By testing and reviewing your plan regularly you can make sure you have covered all the risks; the likelihood and consequences of these risks happening; the precautions to reduce such risks; and establish suitable contingency steps to take should a threat occur.

Help protecting your business

One of the key steps every business will need to consider is insurance, getting the right policy for your business is central to a risk management plan.

There are many risks that you will need to address when getting the right policy, this might include: Key person protection; rehabilitation of injured employees; and of course making sure you have adequate sums insured under your material damage insurance.

A Business Interruption (BI) policy can also help minimise the potential affects that risks could have on your business, following an insured event.

BI cover can fund:

  • An alternative location, provided by an Increased Costs of Working cover.
  • Provide you with the profits you have lost, following a material damage claim.
  • Ensure all normal business expenses are paid.

This then allows you to get on with the process of rebuilding your business, as the policy will continue to pay these until your business is back in the same financial position as before the incident – up to the limit of your indemnity period.

Once your risk management plan has been completed don’t forget to communicate it to all employees and schedule time to regularly revisit it. By implementing the right protection for your business, your company will be best placed to recover from any financial loss and bounce back with minimum disruption.

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About the author

Passionate about all things marketing. Louise is a chartered marketer who believes in a customer-focused approach to business.