No matter who you are or what kind of business you run, there are always going to be things that get in the way of it and make you have to stop for a while. That’s usually because something that you consider more important has cropped up, which might be in the form of an emergency or could just be something that needs immediate attention. Whatever it might be, it’s good to know what to do in that situation, for the good of not only the business but also your life in general. Let’s take a look at some advice on managing when your business gets interrupted with grace and compassion.
First Of All: Organise Your Business Well
Most of the work you need to do here is actually all about what happens before anything interrupts the business. In other words, if your business is set up in such a way that it is ready for anything, you are going to find these interruptions are nothing too much to worry about, and that’s a situation that you are probably going to be glad for. So what do you need to do here? Simply put, you need to make sure that you are organising your business in the right way, so that you can expect to be able to put everything on hold and take the time you need without it disturbing the future prospects of the business too much. Do that, and things are going to look so much better.
Draw Up Your Business Continuity Plan
In order to make sure that your business can continue on without you for a while, you need to draw up a business continuity plan. Again, it’s wise to do this early on before anything happens, so that you at least have the framework for it. You can then later on tweak it as necessary if you are going to need it, but as long as you have the basic layout there to start that should help in a big way. So, what is in a business continuity plan and how can you make sure yours is going to work as you need it to?
Firstly, you need to evaluate the likely and potential risks that your business could run into, anything which might mean that you have to stop trading for a while, or even just reduce trading or whatever else it might require. If your business is in New York, what are you going to do if there is a sudden huge snowstorm? That’s just an example, but it should give you an idea of how you are meant to approach this. The more situations you can think of which might realistically happen to your business, the better prepared you are going to be going forwards.
Beyond that, you then need to look into developing some communication plans, as this is often going to be about the most important part of the whole emergency process. As long as communications are kept up, things can generally carry on to some degree or another, so this is something that you can really look into early on for the good of the business. This year we have seen the perfect example of how important communications are, with the global pandemic causing a lot of workforces to switch to remote working. If you are ready for your communications to change in this way, then your business is able to survive much more.
In particular, you need to remember that it’s about both internal and external communications, and as long as you have thought about both you should find that you are going to have a much better chance of survival overall. At the same time, and as a part of this, you need to think about how you are going to protect important documents that your business might need at any one time. In particular, you need to make sure that you have backed them up as soon as possible and before any emergency actually hits, so that you are going to be able to continue things in your business so much more easily when the time arrives.
Preparing Your Employees
Once you have your business continuity plan in place, the next most important thing you need to do is to prepare your employees for any kind of situation that might crop up. This is a simple case of going through a number of scenarios in training, which you can do at regular intervals to ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them. With more of your people on board and understanding of what might be required, you are going to feel so much more in control of your business, and you will have so much less to worry about if anything does happen that causes an interruption in the business. In particular, you should draw up a separate employee action plan, which they all have a copy of, and which you can easily distribute more copies of as necessary. This is going to prove to be one of the most important aspects of the whole situation when it arises.
Managing Cash Flow
For a business to survive a tough time, most of all it needs to be able to keep the cash flowing. As long as this is happening, you can be sure that you are going to have a stronger and better business overall, but if you have not got a real plan to do with the money and the finances, you can’t really be certain that your business is going to survive that well. With that in mind, draw up a plan for how you are going to keep the money moving around when an emergency hits. You might find that there are some obvious solutions that present themselves to you based on your business’ situation which are unique, or you might need to think carefully about what you need to do. In either case, it’s something that you should be able to consider, and which is going to be an important part of the whole.
Attending To Your Emergency
Whatever kind of emergency has affected the business, whether it is personal or national or global, you need to make sure that you are attending to that in whatever way you can, at the same time as improving things in your business and trying to get your company to stay alive and well. If it is a personal emergency, you should make sure that you are taking all the time you need to do whatever needs doing, whether that’s arranging a funeral and finding urns for cremation ashes or whatever it might be. If you have planned out your business and your people well, you will have the time to do this.
For larger emergencies concerning the whole world, you need to remember that you might only have a small part to play, but you do still have a part. You might be surprised about how much you can help out and achieve by being in the right place at the right time, and this is something that you can certainly spend some time on if you want to make sure that you are doing your bit. You never know, you could be someone who helps to make the situation a lot easier for so many people, inside and outside of the business.
All in all, attending to the emergency itself is generally going to mean you can get back to your business even sooner, and get it set up again and get that money flowing in again.
Take Another Look At Your Processes
In all of this, you might find yourself having to ask some tough questions about the processes you have in your business, the toughest of all being: ‘do I really need this, or can it go?’ That is especially difficult when it means changing things around a lot, or when it requires that someone is let go, but sometimes that’s just what has to happen, and you have to be prepared for that as well as possible. By taking a deep look at your processes and changing what needs changing, you can ensure that you are going to have a much easier time of getting things back on track, and that is the ultimate goal that you are aiming for in all of this. So put the necessary effort and time into this, and you should find that you can have a much better shot of keeping everything flowing as it should.
Protect & Grow
Ultimately, your goal in all of this should be to protect your business so that it can grow more in the future, but if you find that all you can achieve is the first part, that is fine, as it’s the most important part of all. If you follow through the steps and advice in this article, your business is going to have a much better chance of survival, and that is something that you are going to be glad for.
P.S. This post is a partner collaboration.