Building business resilience
What the past few weeks has shown is that some businesses are more resilient than others.
The ability to be flexible and pivot into new areas and ways of doing business can be key to surviving tough times.
With people on lockdown, now is the perfect time to review your business and see if you can identify any potential areas of weakness that could be addressed to make you more resilient.
Here are a few areas of potential vulnerability for you to consider:
A lot of businesses have recently found out just how dependent they are on being at a physical location. Sometimes there’s nothing that can be done about this, such as in the case of hotels and some restaurants, for example.
The coronavirus is an extreme example of something that can affect your ability to work from a single location, but there are other things that could drive you out of your regular business premises.
For example, if there were ever a fire or flood at your work, would you be able to cope? And if not, how could you minimise the disruption whilst you figured out how to proceed?
As we’ve talked about a lot recently, or cloud-hosted phone systems are ideal for this purpose as they are completely location independent. There is no physical pbx that could be compromised, as everything is hosted online. It’s also easy to manage online through an online control panel. This is one of the reasons we recommend having either your main phone system, or a mirror version of it, hosted in the cloud, as it means you’re far less vulnerable to things going wrong at a single physical location.
You can read more about the creating a disaster recovery/business continuity phone solution by viewing our guide. It covers the options available and recommends which services you should set up ready to be activated in the event of things going wrong.
As well as your location, you should also take some time to review the people you have working for you. The last thing you want is for your business to become overly dependent on one person.
What if that person were to get seriously injured or die? Or how about if they left to join a competitor or set up as a rival? There’s also the risk that they could become poisonous to the business and disrupt the rest of your team - you don’t want to be in the position of needing to fire them but being unable to do so.
If someone has specialist knowledge it’s important to try and find a way to get that out of their head and into a document or resource others can access it if required.
We suggest you start to systematise your business, getting all the key information and processes down on paper. That way, it’s possible for someone else to come in and follow the processes to get the same result, leaving you less dependent on individuals.
The technology you use at work is also a potential weakness if not properly managed.
Now that things are a little quieter, it’s a good time for you to review the software you use and how you collect, manage and share information.
You may find you’re paying a lot of money for tools that don’t do what they want them to do, just because you’ve always used them. By spending some time looking around you can probably find some alternatives that do exactly what you want a much better price. Of course, this also means you have to review all your processes, but that can’t be a bad thing.
If you find your phone system isn’t up to the job any more, we recommend you take a look at our VoIP services. The vast majority of our clients have found they saved a significant sum on the monthly phone bill when they switched to our service. They also benefit from a more flexible system that can be easily updated and scaled as their business grows and develops. Our VoIPinclusive package is a popular choice with businesses looking for a fully featured phone system with everything included for a fixed monthly fee. Contact us if you want to find out more.
As well as software, you should also review your hardware. If you’re using out of date technology you may be wasting a lot of time and money trying to work around any deficiencies. Sometimes it’s better to invest in up to date hardware, such as new laptops and servers etc., that allows you to just get on and do what you need to do with minimum hassle.
We would also recommend you review your online security and make sure your antivirus and firewall software is up to date and scans are being run regularly. It’s also a good idea to ensure you’re taking regular backups of all your data, preferably automatically scheduled, and storing copies somewhere secure.
One other area we want to mention is your customers.
Just as it’s not a good idea to be overly reliant on one employee, it’s definitely not a good idea to be overly reliant on one client or one industry.
If your main client goes bust or decides to take their business elsewhere for any reason, you’d quickly find yourself in deep trouble. Similarly, if you only operate in a single industry this may also leave you vulnerable, so consider if there are any similar industries you could also serve.
This ability to pivot and change your business model quickly could be key to surviving any tough times.
For example, we’ve seen numerous examples over the past few weeks where businesses have had to re-invent themselves quickly.
Some pubs and cafes have quickly been able to switch to offering a takeaway service to keep things ticking over until the lockdown is lifted. Personal trainers that have been forced out of their gyms have started doing classes online, as have some counsellors, teachers and consultants.
We recommend you spend some time brainstorming a number of “worst case scenario” situations and plan what you would do to survive in each situation. Hopefully you’ll never need to put your plans into action, but if you ever did you can act decisively and confidently, knowing you’ve prepared to handle things going wrong.
If there’s one thing the last few weeks have taught us, is that things can change and go wrong very quickly.
You could rapidly find yourself in a vulnerable position unless you prepare and build as much resilience and flexibility into your business as possible. We strongly recommend you spend some time now to identify your weaknesses and put in place a plan to mitigate them.
All our services are flexible, scalable, and can be easily managed online. If you need help getting your business phone system sorted out please get in touch and we’d be happy to advise.