COVID-19 brought home to many businesses just how quickly life can be turned upside-down by events that are beyond your control. Within what seemed like a couple of days businesses had to grapple with multiple problems:
● Staff unable to work normally.
● Travel restrictions affecting staff travel and client meetings.
● Cancelled or delayed orders.
● Difficulty in obtaining supplies.
● Difficulty in fulfilling orders.
● A potentially fatal health and safety risk that had to be managed.
In some businesses, such as hospitality, it was suddenly impossible to trade at all.
How many businesses knew exactly what to do as soon as the crisis hit, and how many had to find ways to react to events as they unfolded?
Plan for Unplanned Events
How well individual businesses were able to withstand this onslaught of uncertainty depended to a large extent on the quality of their business disruption planning. The long-term financial implications will also depend on the extent to which they identified insurable risks and taken the necessary steps to protect themselves.
Unfortunately, making plans for what could go wrong is not something many businesses take seriously enough. Most will be aware of the need for a disaster recovery or business continuity plan. Some may even have a plan somewhere in their filing system. But how many have a live plan and risk register that are regularly and rigorously reviewed by the leaders of the business?
As we slowly get back to normal, and before we’re back into the routine, it’s important to learn the lessons from recent events. Now is the time to draw up a business disruption and recovery plan (or revisit the one you have) that covers the major risks facing your business.
Risks could include future epidemics, cyber attack, major systems failures, extreme weather events, and inappropriate or illegal activity by officers of the business. The exact risks and their potential severity will depend on the nature and size of the organisation.
Powells Law has helped many businesses to address the legal aspects of business continuity planning, including contracts of employment, contract terms and conditions, commercial leases and the legal structure of the business. Now is a good time to put that experience to good use and protect your business.