Positivity is a good thing but let’s face it, in a world full of that’s full of uncertainty, maintaining a positive mindset is almost close to impossible. No one would ever wish for things to go wrong but when it comes to business, it’s a staple thing that can happen anytime.
How can you make sure that your business is prepared for any unforeseen problems? From natural disasters to financial difficulties and problems caused by human error, there are steps that you can adapt to prepare for the worst. Here are 11 that you can take to make sure your business is ready to face any kind of challenge that could arise.
What Could Possibly Happen?
Unexpected problems range from those that are attributed to natural causes to those caused by human error and other conditions that are not favorable for your business to move forward. Preparing for these things require that you know each one of them first. Below is a list of unfavorable circumstances that your business could face.
By knowing every possibility, you are able to develop certain risk management steps that can help you respond better in every single one:
- Natural disasters like flood, earthquake, tornado, hurricane, wildfire, etc.
- Crises that are man-made such as a mass shooting, terror attach or your area being locked down
- A sudden death of key persons in the business like an executive or even you as the business owner
- Vital business information and other crucial data being stolen
- Failure in equipment, extended power outages, plumbing woes or events that can prevent you from using your business premises and other equipment
- A natural disaster in your supplier’s area leaving you unable to deliver products to your customers
- A big problem in finance somewhere in your business system which causes delays and indefinite waiting time for the client’s payments
- A costly lawsuit
11 Ways to Prepare for Such Unexpected Problems
Preparing for every one of the possible scenarios above is impossible but proactively preparing and protecting your business from all of them is achievable. Here are 11 ways that can help ensure your business is ready to take on the challenge.
1. Take Time to Assess the Risks
This is the very first thing that you need to do since it helps you identify all the possible problems and challenges that your business can face. For instance, when it comes to natural disasters, it would be good to know if your office or establishment is located in an area that’s prone to hurricanes and earthquakes.
Are you located in a flood-prone area and are the goods that you are selling highly-perishable or the service you’re providing time-sensitive? Is your business responsible for handling data that are confidential by nature that if it were leaked would cause great damage?
2. Identify and Analyze Key Functions
Every part of your business is important in making it work as a whole but there are areas that are crucial and non-negotiable. Identify these key roles and make sure that every single one of them will still function even through the challenges that can come along the way. As you do this, you can also see which ones can be out on the sidelines for a short period of time and which ones are highly essential and therefore must be prioritized over the others.
3. Get Your Emergency Response Ready
If you want a work environment that’s safe for every worker and for the business as a whole then you need to make sure that you are purchasing some safety equipment and make sure that they are being maintained regularly.
Install exit markings and make sure that a diagram of the escape route is posted in strategic places in case a fire breaks out. Having emergency lamps in hallways will also be a big help in case of power outages due to extreme weather, flood, earthquake or a lockdown for some reason. It is also recommended that an emergency response rehearsal is done at least twice a year and all the staff must be required to take part in it.
4. Make Sure Everything is Backed Up
Business data and all the tools, as well as the processes that are already digitized, must have not just one but multiple back-ups saved and kept in different locations. One of these locations must be the cloud since it’s easily accessible from any other device, regardless of the cost of doing the backups. This will ensure you are Safe even if your building burns to the ground!
It also helps if you diversify the server locations to make sure that your business files, data, Emails and other crucial information can still be accessed even if one of the servers located in a particular area gets serious damage from a flood or any other unavoidable disasters caused by natural or man-made factors.
5. Avoid the Mistake of Relying on Just One Person
It’s a bad idea to entrust all the passwords for servers and emergency back-ups to only one person. Just think about it, what if something bad happens to this person and he’s not able to report to the office? Everything will fall apart for sure so be sure to get at least two more reliable people and let them know the passwords.
It’s also important that these people you’ve chosen know everything especially the key elements of the other person’s role. If this isn’t possible then be sure that all the key aspects of the most important processes that make your business run are well documented so that when your trusted person isn’t around, someone else can take over just by following the instructions shown in the documentation itself.
6. Get Your Business Insured
Buying enough business insurance isn’t necessarily good. To make sure that your business is ready for the worst, you need to purchase the right insurance. it’s quality over quantity when it comes to business insurance. You need to make sure that the insurance policy is able to cater to the needs of your business.
Purchasing an insurance that has a strong general liability policy is a good idea and of course, don’t forget to include coverage for different disasters and as well as equipment and cyber liability insurance. If you’re not that sure with the type of business insurance coverage that you need to get then don’t hesitate to consult an insurance provider that has enough experience in providing insurance policies to different types of businesses.
7. Save for Emergency Fund
It is important that you always set aside a certain percentage of your business profit for an emergency fund. Save an amount that can be enough to keep the core business working for at least six months. This ensures that you will still be able to have a sustainable cash flow and the business stays on track even through natural disasters like hurricane, earthquake and many unavoidable circumstances.
8. Update Contact Information Regularly
Keeping an updated list of all the contact information relevant to the workplace is essential. By doing this, you can easily check on everyone and inform them of crucial information regarding work and the business itself. It also helps you check on every single one of your employees in case natural disasters hit the area where your business is located.
Keep them accessible by saving them in every device that you have both at home and in the office or even list them down in one of your personal planners just to be sure that you still can get in touch with your workers and key people in the business even if access to the Internet is cut-off.
9. Establish a Plan for Remote Communication
Remote working arrangements is a growing trend nowadays in both small businesses and big companies. It is important that you establish systems and processes that can allow your workers to work on crucial tasks even if they’re not in the office. Doing this will ensure that everything is in tip-top shape every time.
10. Develop a Disaster Plan and Chain of Command
A difficult situation can easily become even worse if there’s no one that people can turn to. Take time to develop a disaster plan with an established chain of command and let everyone in your workplace know every detail of it.
With this, every single worker that you hired will know who to contact in case something goes wrong. They will also know who’s final decision it is that they need to recognize and execute in certain emergency situations. Having a clearly defined chain of command can prevent big business catastrophes from ever happening.
11. Identify Which Resources You Can Draw From
Take time to research about the resources that are available in the municipal, state and even the federal level so that you can quickly draw emergency funds when a disaster strikes. Yes! You can take advantage if state-wide recovery funds and even benefits for those workers who may lose work temporarily while you are out of business. Loans that charge very low interests are also available and it only takes a bit of research for you to find out more about these resources that you can draw finances from in case things go wrong for you and your business.