Risky Business – Tristan Webb, Aspire Insurance Ltd
The fact that we are all in business means that we are indeed taking some risks. The higher the cost of bringing an offer to market, the bigger the risk. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk and improve the opportunity returns on investment.
These might include: writing a good business plan and include a vision and goals. You can select clear and measurable key performance indicators and monitor performance regularly. You might do a health and safety risk assessment, install better security, and improve fire protection. Or you could transfer some risk to an Insurance Company.
Historically, there are three good reasons why a business should develop a Business Continuity Plan (BCP):
- 80% of businesses affected by a significant disruption close within 18 months of the event taking place because they had no plan.
- 90% of businesses that lose data from the result of a significant incident are forced to close within 2 years.
- 58% of UK organisations were disrupted by the events of September 11th. One in eight organisations was seriously affected by the event.
(Source: London Prepared website – Business Continuity Advice – 2004)
You can never identify all the risks. No one had ever envisaged two jumbo jets flying into the twin towers let alone the catastrophic after effect of that September occurrence. However, the more prepared we are for disaster the more likely we will cope if one does occur. The continuity plan will help bring some structure to the situation, offer some control over the chaos. It will minimise the damage and speed up the recovery period.
Communications are the lynch pin. They help protect the reputation of a company, keep the clients informed and your competitors at bay if handled in the correct way. Your business continuity plan is an essential document when tendering for work particularly in the public sector.
Checklist for immediate information
- Your employees and how to contact them.
- A reliable emergency contractors.
- Availability and source of temporary labour.
- Details of any alternative premises.
- Who is responsible for communication issues
- The contact details of your insurance company
Then you need to think about where you hold this immediate information, where your back up data is stored and how you access security codes.
It almost goes without saying that your plan needs to be trial tested, flexible and well communicated. You will need to review and update it regularly to ensure you take into account adjustments as you build your business. Above all it needs to be accessible. It is no use having a great plan on your P.C. in your office when your office looks like this!
Your continuity plan will reflect the complexity of your business. So if you have a simple business your continuity plan is likely not to be too complicated. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore the chances. Not all risks can be totally controlled but the better prepared you are the better chance you have of being one of the successful recovery statistics.
Useful links: The Business Continuity Institute http://www.thebci.org/
Aspire Insurance Ltd
0845 270 6720 (Work)