We are being advised to stay at home. What are the implications to your business? Do you have a Business Continuity Plan in place to adapt to changing situations? According to government statistics, 40% of businesses affected by the Manchester bombing in 2017 went out of business and never returned. The current situation and lack of face to face contact means the retail, travel, hospitality and leisure industries (along with others) all need to find new ways to deliver for their customers. But how can you protect your business and the way you operate in these scenarios? How agile can you be to adapt and diversify what you can offer to your customers? And what can you do to ensure your business can continue to thrive through this uncertainty?
Business continuity planning is all about understanding the potential risks and putting a plan in place. Where unforeseen situations arise like the one we currently find ourselves in, the starting point is to analyse and understand the risks to your business while following the measures taken to combat the coronavirus. These include risks to your customers and their demand for your products and services, your people and the way they operate, production, supply, IT systems and infrastructure, partnerships, timescales & service level agreements (SLAs), PR and marketing. Understanding the risks to the component parts of your business as well as your business as a whole will help you plan more effectively.
Ensure you have the right team in place to detail risk scenarios and likely implications on their areas of the business. Assess these risks together and make sure your key stakeholders are aware of the threats.
Getting an understanding of risks is one thing but planning for them is essential. Assess potential strategies and don’t discount anything at this stage. Continuity planning is about making sure your business continues to deliver through adversity, and that may call for innovation. You must be open to new ways of forging your future path and don’t be put off by any negativity. Now is the time to do things differently and you want to have explored every avenue before coming up with a plan.
It’s also important to remember that risk planning is about reducing either the likelihood or impact on your business and not just about how you can avoid the risk becoming an issue. Especially in the current climate, businesses need to plan for working though issues, not just avoiding them. Consultation is also essential at this stage. Discuss your needs with insurance companies, with other like-minded businesses, with your suppliers, with change experts, perhaps even with your customers. Your ideas will need to be innovative and creative as you look to a new business landscape. Leave no stone unturned.
There are some great examples of agility and adapting quickly to change to support business continuity as well as supporting local communities in this time of need. The gin distilleries switching from gin production to hand sanitiser production in Lincoln, London and Bristol. Pubs and cafes across the country are exploring home delivery options and retailers are quickly maximising their e-commerce routes to market.
Once mitigating strategies have been explored, develop your plan and put it into action (if the time is right). Clarity on roles and responsibilities is important when you’re looking to move fast. You may find that some solutions work better than others so make sure you’re keeping track of what works well and what isn’t worth the effort. Stay abreast of further developments and government interventions to stay on the front foot.
We are offering businesses free workshops to help reprioritise and plan, not just to navigate but to also accelerate for when things pick up.
Contact EstherM@NineFeetTall.com for details.