But what have you done to protect yourself? What backup measures do you have in place to limit the disruption and damage?
1. Power Cut
In my previous business when we moved into our new 7000 Sq Ft warehouse I thought we had moved away from the problems of the old dilapidated office we had vacated. But as bad luck would have it, within a month we had a power-cut that meant our online business ground to a halt. No computers and no internet to process customers orders. Our burn rate was around £1000 a day, not to mention the longer term impact of customer cancellations due to delayed orders.
The solution in this case was to buy a generator, some lights and a very long extension lead. We created a plan in the event of future black outs, and we assigned important roles to different staff members, such as a team to set-up the generator, a team to run the power leads around the office, a team to set-up the lights and plugin the mission critical computers that would allow the business to continue functioning, albeit in a limited state. This plan worked perfectly and meant in a power-cut we could be back up and operational within 15 minutes.
The most ironic thing was, we never experienced another power cut in the proceeding three years we were there. But it felt good knowing we had a well oiled disaster recovery machine.
No business is immune from this devastating disaster and there are a number of on-going measures that can be done to mitigate against this risk.
As this document focuses on the recovery of such an event, it's still worth listing a few bullet points of actions to consider when safe guarding your business.
If you are ever unfortunate enough to experience a fire at your business, what is your plan for business continuity?
If you operate a factory full of machinery, are there other similar businesses (that don't compete with you) that you can strike an arrangement with, where they will pick up production over a temporary period of time? Greggs the bakers who are makers of the local famous sausage roll are a great example of this; after a fire that rendered their factory unusable, they quickly struck a deal with another factory to continue production on a temporary basis, and within 4 weeks their factory was operational again, and their customers were oblivious to the disaster that had occurred.
Picture this nightmare scenario... You're standing on the other side of the road with your head in your hands looking at a enormous fire that's ripping the very heart out of your office building, and all of the computers your 30 employees rely on are now wiped out, completely gone, up-in-smoke, pffffft. You didn't take regular data backups and worse you hadn't gotten round to digitising your important paperwork. As well as a possible two month wait until the office is fully repaired and back to normal, you have no clue as to what to do with your thirty employees and how to get them back to work. What on earth is going to happen to the 300 telephone sales calls you receive everyday? The only comfort you can take, is that you're fully insured and you recently updated your policy with the increase in value of office equipment, staff numbers and turnover.
What an absolute nightmare of a scenario that could happen to any of us. But the most important question is, have you planned and are you prepared?
Using this example, here are some considerations:
3. No internet
Quite possibly the end of the world for some, and an inconvenience for many, but there are many businesses who solely rely on the internet in order to operate and would go out of business without it. One such company is my own, we currently help millions of people save money through a suite of money saving websites, mobile apps and social media pages. If the whole internet was turned off tomorrow I would be contemplating becoming a monk and learning to play chess.
Joking aside, there are often times when the internet goes off temporarily, events such as: power cuts; broadband routers breaking down; connectivity issues with internet providers, etc.
So what is your plan if this happens? How will you print off all of those internet ecommerce orders and fulfil them? Here are a few ideas and please add your own in the comments box below.
By thinking ahead and creating a disaster recovery plan, you can help to reduce the risk to your business should a disaster strike and being able to operate with no detrimental effect on your customers is a great way to ensure a good nights sleep.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best.