Use the recent past to plan for the future

In March 2020 when Covid hit, businesses had to act at a frighteningly quick pace to move their operations to remote working or to mothball them.

We saw flexibility from employees to adapt to new working conditions, hastily implemented new systems, communication issues that eventually got resolved, largely, by the likes of Teams and Zoom, improved efficiency, amazing teamwork and collaboration.  But the challenges faced by business owners at that time where huge and it would be fair to say that no business owner would ever want to go through it again.

Yes we’ve all been through it once but how prepared is your business should there be a localised or national lock down again some time in the next 12 months?  What if another disaster should befall your business?  No doubt we could all do it again but it would aid your business if next time the reaction was well considered and followed a documented plan.

So let’s look back at Pre Covid-19.  The vast majority of business owners didn’t have an disaster/continuity plan and were left scrambling to keep the necessary steps in place.  The cobbled together measures worked, but they were probably very inefficient and possibly caused longer term issues than needed.

Spare time isn’t something that many business owners have but preparedness is now more critical than it ever was.

The excuses of “it won’t ever happen to me” or “we don’t have large scale disasters in the country” are now a thing of the past.  We’ve now all seen the importance of continuity planning.

Now is the perfect time to prepare your continuity plan.  You have the knowledge of what worked and what didn’t, and it’s fresh in your mind.  So you now have the benefit of being able to use the recent past to plan for the future.  Doing so will help your business deal efficiently with what challenges present themselves, with little or no panic.

My suggestions on what your plan should consider are things like:

    1. How would you overcome the negative impacts of Covid-19 so that they don’t hinder you again?
    2. What positive solutions implemented during Covid-19 could you build in to your business?
    3. What systems do you need to replace or need to fill gaps?
    4. Do you have the right security in place at your employees homes to safeguard your systems and data?
    5. Is the hardware your staff have sufficient and robust?
    6. Did your staff use home PCs, if so consider the security risks?
    7. How will you communicate with your workforce?
    8. How can you protect your workforce?
    9. What wellbeing steps can be put in place?
    10. What methods will you use to keep in touch with clients, customers and vendors?
    11. How can you maintain your supply chain?
    12. How can you continue to promote your business and services, potentially at a time when outwardly selling would be frowned upon?
    13. Did any of your suppliers hinder your move to full remote working or what your business was trying to change?

The above list is far from exhaustive but hopefully it will stimulate other thoughts and actions.

Taking the time to plan, right now, can potentially go a long way to getting your business successfully through whatever challenges may be heading our way in the future.

Being able to reach out and grab your continuity plan at the time when disaster hits will relieve a great deal of stress and worry.