Regardless what business you’re in, it is imperative that you look at all aspects of your business and see what can go wrong and try to minimize any possible disruptions for you or your customers. This may be as simple as backing up your hard drive to ensure that you aren’t down for a number of days while trying to recover the data and incurring the expenses associated with it.
Building on the hard drive example, it is important that you have contingency plans in place that can clearly articulate what has to be done in case something goes wrong to minimize any disruptions. These should be well documented and readily accessible to all of your employees. If plans aren’t in place, an unexpected event could actually be enough to put you out of business if you don’t quickly and correctly respond.
What brings this to mind is a recent trip I was on in SE Asia that involved a break down of a bus I was traveling on. The bus company had no contingency plans in place and there was utter chaos among the passengers in trying to find a way to get to their ultimate destination. Needless to say, it was quite frustrating and annoying. Furthermore, my trust in the bus company has been forever broken and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
Most large companies invest a great amount of money in developing contingencies plans for their respective businesses and hire high priced consultants to assist them in this area. I’m not suggesting that you do the same, unless you have very deep pockets, but take the time to ensure that you’re covered and first focus on those items in your business that could have the greatest possible negative impact if something goes wrong. Start from there, list the items in descending order of risk and develop a plan to deal with each area. Don’t wait before it’s too late!