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Accinctus - Business Continuity from a Gitomer Sales Article – Really?

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Wednesday, 28 May 2014 00:00

Business Continuity from a Gitomer Sales Article – Really? Featured

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I was emailed Jeffrey Gitomer's Caffeine Jolt newsletter yesterday with an article titled Help! My Main Contact Left and I’m Panicked! Unlike the person who emailed the newsletter to me (thanks Mom), brushing my teeth with a brillo pad is more exciting than talking about sales and marketing to me.  I prefer dealing with disasters, disruptions, response plans and the related processes as a business continuity (BC) professional.  I bet a few marketing and sales professionals who read that think I’m certifiably nuts and would choose the brillo tooth brush instead of having to deal with workplace violence, mud slides, or power outages.  Each to our own passion.

However, there is an idea in the article I would like to address from my BC perspective rather than a sales perspective (sorry if that disappoints you sales and marketing gurus).  The specific question involved the loss of a key contact in customer organizations.  Loss of key personnel is certainly one threat I deal with but for this discussion it could also be a disruption that shuts down your production for a few days, an incident that harms your corporate reputation, or a disaster that damages your office or injures your employees.  The basic idea is that something bad unexpectedly happens which you are not prepared for resulting in a terrible impact to your business.  Putting that into a formula looks like this:

 

Threat + Lack of Awareness + Lack of Preparedness = Negative Business Impact

 

So what can be done to fix this problem and lessen that fear?  From a business continuity perspective, the focus is to reduce the impact by concentrating on two parts of the equation we can control: awareness and preparedness.  Why not deal with the threats?  Easy, we have no control over threats; if we did we wouldn’t allow them to happen in the first place and problem solved.

To improve your awareness I conduct a Risk Assessment to identify the threats to your organization and a Business Impact Analysis to understand the impacts on your critical processes (and your bottom line).  But being aware of the threats isn’t enough; action is required!  To make your company more prepared (resilient is the current buzz word) I focus on two areas.  First, we would work to lessen the impacts from the threats through mitigation.  For example, if your business is located in a hurricane prone area, we would ensure your building meets or exceeds hurricane codes, you have backup power sources, and possibly relocate your critical records or data center out of the basement to someplace higher to lessen flood damage.  The second area of work we would work together is to develop solid response and recovery processes and related training so your managers and employees know what to do when “it” happens. 

This proactive approach will reduce your risk profile and make your company more resilient to the impacts of incidents when they happen.  Trust me, something will happen.  The alternative strategy is to wait until after an incident happens before you start trying to figure out what to do.  I would not recommend the gamblers approach as it tends to result in high costs and a closed business.  By improving the two areas we have control over in the equation (awareness and preparedness) the potential range of negative impacts to your business is greatly reduced.  That could be a difference between an inconvenience instead of a catastrophe or the loss of a few days revenue compared to closing your business for good. 

There was one point in Jeffrey Gitomer’s response that I think applies for both sales and business continuity: “If all of this seems like hard work, it pales by comparison to the work you’ll have to do if you’re unprepared after the fact.”  Mr. Gitomer was discussing building client relationships, but I think it applies just as much to business continuity.

As always, Be Aware-Be Prepared-Be Safe


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