Are you prepared for the worst in your business?
Optimism and positive thinking are important traits for small business owners, but it’s just as important that you have risk and emergency management plans in place in your business.
Preparing for the worst isn’t negative thinking. Planning enables you to anticipate and prepare for risks, then you can identify solutions and better ways of doing things.
Failing to plan, means potentially being taken by surprise, which could result in:
- Disruption to business
- Loss of reputation
- Inefficiencies and financial loss
- Damage to environment.
You should develop risk and emergency plans as part of your Business Plan. If you haven’t already got these plans in place, the best time to develop them is now.
Here are 5 Risk and Emergency Management Plans you need for your business.
1. A Risk Plan
The first place to start is identifying the internal and external risks to your organisation. These potential risks may relate to (thought may not be limited to):
- commercial relationships
- competitor activity
- economic circumstances and scenarios
- human behaviour
- individual activities
- legislation and policy changes
- management activities and controls
- natural events and disasters
- political circumstances
- health and safety
- risk to reputation
- employees, customers, stakeholders, community.
You will want to consider all the potential risks to your business regardless of how big, small, likely or unlikely they may be to occur.
Rate the impact or consequence of each risk occurring. You can use a rating such as high, medium or low.
Next you want to rank the likelihood of each risk occurring using rankings such as Highly Unlikely, Unlikely, Likely or Highly Likely.
Finally you need to take actions to minimise, mitigate or reduce the potential risk to your business.
2. Emergency management planning
A component of risk management is having an Emergency Management Plan in place. This plan should outline immediate actions and communication to take place in the event of an emergency such as fire, flood, evacuation, physical threat. Actions can include listing emergency contact details and training staff in evacuation and emergency response procedures.
3. Crisis management plan
Similar to the above a crisis management plan outlines immediate actions to take place in the event of a crisis. This type of plan may differ slightly because sometimes a risk or issue may constitute a ‘crisis’ but not necessarily an emergency, which implies immediate threat to safety.
For example, a reputational risk could become a media issue and quickly be considered a crisis for an organisation, as it could affect sales immediately and long into the future.
These types of risks, or crises, require immediate action and communication and a plan in place for how they will be handled.
4. Business continuity plan
A Business Continuity Plan outlines actions for when the business moves beyond the initial response to a crisis or emergency but before full recovery has occurred and operations can return to normal. It should outline actions and plans being able to continue business at minimum requirements until fully recovered. For example, it may include options for alternative premises if the existing premises are damaged.
5. Contingency planning
As part of the above plans, you will need contingency or back-up plans if a risk occurs. They may form part of your Business Continuity and Emergency/Crisis Management Plans.
Having a Plan B or C in place can save you lots of heartache in the long run.
When it comes to your risk and emergency management plans you may also want to consult an expert in this area. This is incredibly important for businesses that have a high safety risk profile.
You may also like to check out the resources and information at government business sites such as this one.