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Accinctus - Roadblocks & Assumptions That Increase Your Business Risk

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Friday, 19 September 2014 00:00

Roadblocks & Assumptions That Increase Your Business Risk Featured

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Last week, my awareness article for National Preparedness Month focused on family evacuations, a few personal lessons, and a free evacuation checklist you can download for your family (catch up here).  For this week’s topic I want to shift gears and focus on business preparedness.  Specifically, I’d like to address a few fallacies, incorrect assumptions, and excuses that actually increase your business risk on top of the natural, man-made, and technological risks a business already faces. 

 

Incorrect assumption #1:  It won’t happen to me.

 

I am amazed at how often I hear this from business owners and managers.  One doesn’t need to be a preparedness expert to realize that no matter where you are in the country, you face not only natural hazards (floods, wildfires, hurricanes, blizzards, thunderstorms, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.) but also man-made threats (power outages, water outages, protests and riots, crime and violence, etc.) and technological threats (cyber-attacks, hardware failure, sabotage, etc.).  The list is too long to name every threat here, just open your local paper or watch the local news – it’s a sure bet you will find at least one threat mentioned almost every day.  Fact is, bad things happen and it always happens to someone.  Someday that someone could be you.  Accept the threats and do something about it. 

 

 

Incorrect assumption #2:  My company is too small to think about preparedness. 

 

One of the key focus areas for my business is bringing preparedness and continuity processes to small and medium businesses who normally don’t take any action to prepare their businesses.  Sadly, it’s around 75% of US SMBs who have taken zero steps to prepare.  This lie has somehow been entrenched in the small and medium business mindset.  The truth is small and medium businesses don’t need giant business continuity programs – but they absolutely need to apply focused continuity principles to protect themselves.  This can be as simple as having a basic risk assessment, simple checklists for response to their top threats, and training for employees on what to do when something bad happens.  Small steps make a big difference and can help you to recover your business rather than go out of business.  FYI: if your company is in the three-quarters that have no planning, you only have about a 1 in 3 chance your business will survive a disruption.

 

Incorrect assumption #3:  We have insurance so everything is covered.  Let me start by saying insurance is valuable, necessary, and very helpful.  However, if you believe your insurance will cover all your losses I have some nice ocean view property to sell you in Nebraska.  Have a chat with your insurance provider to review your policies and ask them exactly what is covered and what is not covered.  Is 100% of your facility covered?  What about every piece of equipment and hardware (from computers and tools to table cloths in a restaurant)?  What about lost business while you’re closed?  What about lost business after you’re back open but negative perceptions from the incident have driven customers and contracts away?  Don’t forget to ask about supply chain failures.  How quick will you be reimbursed (do you have the resources to front those costs)?  These questions aren’t to get every insurance professional mad at me, but business owners and managers need to be honest about what insurance will and will not cover and be prepared so you can protect your business in those gaps.

 

There are plenty of other wrong assumptions owners and managers make that prevent them from taking any action:  “I’ll just make those decisions when something happens;”  “My people already know what to do;”  “Preparedness is too expensive;”  “The fire department and police will take care of everything;” “government grants and loans will pay for it;” and many more.  Every one of these are barriers that unprepared businesses put in their own way, leading them to unfortunately become part of the “out of business” statistics when something does happen.  By listening to these wrong assumptions, you take no action and thus increase your risks even more than the natural risk.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Businesses of every size (even micro businesses with less than 10 employees) can take action to prepare their business to respond to and recover from disruptions and disasters.  You don’t have to implement giant, formal business continuity programs – but you do have to do SOMETHING.  There are plenty of options that range from self-help tools, outsourcing, or hiring continuity professionals.  Whatever you do – decide to do something to make your business more resilient and better prepared to deal with disasters and disruptions so you can get back to business faster.  If you want help preparing your business, Accinctus has flexible services for large, medium, small, and micro businesses.  Please contact me and I’d be glad to answer your questions.

 

Next week, I will address preparedness for non-profit and faith-based organizations, because bad things happen, and not always when we’re at home or work. 

 

As always: Be Aware – Be Prepared – Be Safe.

 


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