Recently in a Facebook group, I asked the question in a poll format about whether a Business owner thought their Business was, in fact, Resilient, and to what level, including good, average, poor, etc, part of the question was to learn about what Business owners thought was Business resilience and to get Business owners to start thinking of their business in this way. I was happy for people to discuss what they thought about the word resilience etc, as I know it is a phrase which many Business owners interpret differently, and it is like doing a risk assessment of your business, we may not always think of all the Risks within the Business and therefore speaking with others can help Business owners learn and consider more risks which might be applicable to their particular Business/ Industry. Think this was demonstrated when the question was asked whether the Business was recession-proof, often as a Business owner we do wonder what effect a recession will have on our Business especially the cash flow aspect and we know without good cash flow we may not have a business.
From the poll, I was very impressed that the majority who responded to the poll thought their Business was resilient, which was a good result, although I do admit there were limited responses to the poll, considering the size of the group.
When I think of Business Resilience I think of it is the ability for any organization or business to quickly adapt to any disruptions within the workplace whilst maintaining continuous Business operations and safeguarding people, assets, and the overall brand equity.
In order to help a Business become resilient, we need to assess and consider all the risks to the Business and then document a Business Continuity Plan or something similar, so anyone within the Business, no matter the time of the day can respond and know what needs to be done as soon as something occurs. if you have not thought of a particular risk, then you would not have planned response to that particular risk/ incident/issue for when it shall occur, which is why either using an external consultant, or other business owners, or a small advisory Board can assist you in considering all risks which might occur within your industry.
Apart from the above, recession other things we can consider here may include floods, Fires, Earthquakes, change in street direction/ operations, staff becoming sick e.g. flu hitting the workplace, computer, and IT/communications issues, equipment failing or being stolen, break in’s into the workplace- damage or items stolen, loss of clients, especially our major clients, vehicles, these are just some of the things which we can consider as risks which may or may not occur and we need to be able to plan to respond to these risks occurring, and I am sure for your own industry you can think of other risks which may be relevant for your particular industry.
Why is becoming Resilient becomes important, it enables business owners to develop mechanisms for protection against experiences that could be overwhelming. It also helps us maintain a balance in our lives during any stressful periods of time which can help with our mental health requirements. Anything which reduces the stress levels of a business owner can only be a good thing.
One thing to remember when we write the Business Continuity Plan, (BCP) although you may know it as a Disaster Recovery Plan ( DRP) or by other names, it is important that the information in the plan is tested on a regular basis, initially in the first year, it should be tested at least twice, say every 6 months, as if we test it, then know whether it will be sufficient should something happen e.g. will it work, can everyone reading it understand it and the instructions and therefore can implement it successfully and efficiently, if it can not be implemented by everyone, it might be time to go back to the drawing board.
One example I like to give, a company in South Australia, went to trouble in installing a generator, so if the power went out, the generator would kick in and the place would still have power, the Property Officer/Manager was testing the generator on a regular basis, to ensure it was working and had fuel, etc in the generator ready to go. Unfortunately, the testing of the Generator was not documented anywhere in the procedure Manual and no one knew it was happening. Unfortunately, the property officer left the organization for health reasons, and therefore the Generator was no longer being regularly tested. One night about 230am, the after-hours received notification of a security alarm activation, and when they checked the IT feed, they found all the doors in the Building had opened, it appeared they had a power failure. The incident was responded to as expected. The following morning the question was asked about why did the Generator not kick in as it was meant to, which they detected a fault within the Generator, and maintenance attended to inspect. Apparently yes there was an issue with the Generator and through discussions with the Maintenance it was worked out that had the Generator been regularly tested the fault would have been detected, and the fault could have been rectified and then not have this issue. This is why it is important to test your plans etc and ensure it is going to be effective for your business requirements.
For anyone who chose not to answer the poll, as they were not sure what to answer, or they answered average, now is the time to consider your risks, plan to respond to any risk, and how you are going to respond to any issues, and document it all in a way in which everyone will understand it and be able to pick up the document and implement it. And please remember to test your plans to ensure they work.
As usual, if you have any questions please speak with your mentor, advisor, consultant about improving your resilience, or if you don’t have someone to ask, please feel free to message me on Facebook and I will ensure you get the help you need.