Disaster recovery. A phrase you haven’t heard before? Heard of it but think it doesn’t apply to you? Disaster recovery concerns all business owners so here’s what it is, why it matters and how to put contingencies in place to ensure your business can ‘keep calm and carry on’!
What is it?
Disaster recovery is essentially a plan to protect your business in times of significant or negative events, if not an outright disaster. Could your business continue to operate if faced with events such as:
- Extreme weather
- Staffing issues
- Security breaches
The above list is not exhaustive and many more events could take place which might have a negative impact on your business.
How does it apply to me?
Even if you’re a sole trader, ‘disasters’ can still occur. It may only involve having to rush the hamster to the vet (certainly a disaster for Hammy!) but it’s an interruption of normal service which could mean a loss of business and custom. A fundamental plan is required for business continuity. Don’t forget, even if your business can’t continue, your fixed costs will. Business continuity is not just about minimising disruption but minimising expense too.
What can I do?
Think - sit down with a pen and paper and get your thinking cap on! Think about times when your business (or a business you know) has been negatively affected by events: that time when your staff were unable to get to work because of travel strikes; that time when your entire team were struck with the Norovirus; that time when you arrived at the office to find it ransacked by burglars.
Plan – formulate a procedure to cover all eventualities; what you will do in times of trouble and how your business can continue un-interrupted. Consider your business from your customer’s point of view and what they need to see from a business during an emergency (indeed, shouldn’t the customer be oblivious to anything other than their needs being serviced?)
Implement – have a practice run and make sure all of your staff are aware of what to do during a disaster-type scenario. Ensure your business and systems are secure and that files, CCTV and backups are stored securely.
Consider a call answering service
There are companies who exist solely to take your business calls, not just in times of disaster! Pocket Receptionist is one such company. They can take all (or some) of your inbound calls and take messages on your behalf, forwarding the messages to you in real-time. Your customers will speak to a ‘real’ person rather than hearing the engaged tone or having the call ring out. It’s easy to set up with Pocket Receptionist and fast if you need to contact them in the middle of your ‘disaster’. As far as your customers are concerned, they have called through to your company.
The word ‘disaster’ implies tragedy and it would be a tragedy if your business was impaired by an event and you have no plan in place!