Contingency Planning and Business Continuity

It’s been a strange few months for all of us…

Stating the obvious there perhaps, but it’s true. None of us saw coronavirus coming.

Even when it was beginning to pick up pace across Europe, there aren’t many people who can honestly say that they saw it developing into as much of a problem as it has become.

And it’s not even finished yet, not by a long stretch unfortunately.

The worldwide human tragedy that has unfolded since, was almost unimaginable at the start of the year.

Of course, we were all preoccupied with another disaster back then, when the world watched through half closed eyes as Australia went up in flames.

Disaster strikes far more frequently than any of us really appreciate, and there aren’t many of us who are immune to it either.

War affects so many across the world, as does the weather and natural disasters from time to time.

Fortunately, in the UK at least, there aren’t many hurricanes and the blitz was a long time ago, but we’re far from untouched by the hand of the occasional disaster.

Man made or natural, it seems there’s always something out to get us, which is in contrast maybe, with the idea that all of these disasters come out of the blue, all of a sudden, unexpectedly.

Acts of God? That’s up to you to decide, but whatever your beliefs, it’s crystal clear that disaster affects us all.

In certain circumstances, it might seem perverse to consider the business implications of a disaster such as the coronavirus pandemic, but when all’s said and done (and we’re a long way from that yet) it’s the business implications that determine whether there’s still bread to put on the table.

Or whether or not there’s a table to put the bread on.

And so, not wanting to detract from the emotions and heart break of disasters such as the one we’re currently in, it’s time to look at the practicalities.

Survival.

Recovery.

Growth.

None of those things are possible without a good level of contingency planning, without an understanding of business continuity and how it applies to your industry, or even more specifically, to your business.

We work with business owners who are hungry for success, determined to build their business and eager to push forward with their own brand of ‘blue sky’ thinking.

There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as they’ve taken the time to consider the worst case scenario.

You don’t have to be a pessimist, a harbinger of doom who only sees the pot holes in the road ahead.

It’s perfectly achievable to be a positive, forward thinking business person, who is also a realist, able to plan for, prepare and even predict what would happen if the very worst was to happen.

Let’s say your premises was flooded, or gutted in a fire. What would you do?

As soon as you’d ensured everyone was safe, your mind would probably go to things like your stock, your hardware and anything else of value for that matter, that’s anything of monetary value or sentimental value.

It’s all about practicalities.

Whether or not they share any portion of the blame, the cold hard truth is, that the majority of businesses who go through a disaster, don’t recover. Even if they do recover, many more struggle to sustain that rebuild for very long at all.

Hundreds of thousands of UK businesses are currently having very difficult conversations.

What costs can they cut to bounce back?

How many jobs can they afford to maintain?

Is it worth winding things up?

These conversations are an absolute must in the wake of any kind of crisis, but they’re made a hell of a lot easier to negotiate, if the correct level of planning is in place.

That’s contingency planning and business continuity.

We advise business owners to speak to specialist business insurers, who are able to tailor their cover to niche industries and specific hypotheticals. Blanket, one size fits all cover is rarely the way to go.

With all businesses requiring a certain level of IT systems these days, back up for your computer and network based systems is absolutely vital.

72% of businesses who lose their data to system crashes or cyber security breaches, cease trading within 24 months.

72%

Three quarters.

That’s how important business continuity from an IT perspective is.

Pen drives and passwords will only take you so far, you need to speak to a professional.

Do you know your RPO from your RTO?

That’s Recovery Point Objective and Recovery Time Objective, two of the most important things to consider when looking at business continuity.

Never heard of them?

Don’t worry.

Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Which is where 2080e comes in so handy.

We can connect you with industry professionals who are tried, tested and trusted to provide the right advice, in the right context, at the right time.

Insurers, accountants, solicitors, IT specialists.

Just a few examples of some of the people you could do with speaking to, when putting your own contingency plan together.

The community based feel of 2080e is perfect for business owners like you, who are looking to future proof their business and protect their interests for the long term, just in case disaster strikes, which it probably will, in some way, shape or form.

‘Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst…’

That’s a bit of a negative in our book.

We think the words ‘hope’ and ‘prepare’ can be replaced with the word ‘plan’.

That’s what it’s all about, planning.

How likely your business is to survive a fire that destroys everything.

This is determined by your level of planning.

Insurance. Fire safety. Back up.

How quickly you ‘bounce back’ in getting your customers and suppliers back to pre pandemic activity.

This is based on how ready you are to resume, how well you planned for a pause in trading.

How successful you are in the future, as in how your business grows after a cyber security attack for instance.

You guessed it, the proof of the pudding is in the planning.

Survival.

Recovery.

Growth.

Contingency planning leads to business continuity.

Without the plan, there could nothing to be continued.