Disaster-Proof Your Business
There is no end of things that could be a disaster for your business, From floods to fires and a whole host of other things can stop you trading, and if you are not prepared that could be the end of your business.
Let’s start with the things that could go wrong if your business is in a physical building. You could have a fire or a flood, or there could be an explosion. Your employees need to know what they should do in these circumstances, and basically, they should follow the rules for a fire drill. This means they all have to exit the building, as quickly and safely as possible and head for a designated area, where it will be checked that they are all there.
Fire drills are a legal requirement in the many places, including the UK, and the frequency of them should be recorded. The local fire service do spot checks on things like this, and they can fine you if you are not complying with the rules. They will also want to make sure that your emergency lighting is working and that all the correct exit signs are in place to guide people from the building in the event of a disaster.
The fire department will also be checking that you have the correct fire extinguishers in the proper places and that they have been serviced as and when they should have been. Some people get annoyed that they get checked out in this way, but in the job the fireman do they see disasters all the time, and are just trying to stop one happening too your business.
Making sure your employees are safe should be the first priority. Although this type of disaster might affect your business in a detrimental way, that is nothing compared to a member of your workforce being injured.
Have Your Electrics Checked
You should have your electrical installation and equipment checked by a level 2 service provider, ideally, on a regular basis. It could be fine one moment, and then a little furry animal, such as a rat, could chew through some wiring and it is no longer safe. Hopefully, if this happens it will mean that some lights or electric sockets won’t work, and then you would call an electrician anyway. But to be on the safe side, regular checks are vital to make sure your electrics are safe and sound.
As well as faulty electrics being a danger, they could be the cause of all your computer systems failing. This would leave you very vulnerable to hackers and viruses and should be avoided at all costs. Some people have a different circuit, just for their computer systems, so that even if the main ones go down, the computers are not affected.
The problem is that none of us knows when a disaster is going to strike, so make regular backups of all your systems so that at least you have something to work with if the worst happens.
Protect Your Data
Backups and anti-virus should help to keep your systems safe, but if hackers can get into some of the largest organisations in the country, they will be able to get into yours. It can be a disaster of a different kind if one day you turn on your computer and there is a message waiting for you that fills the whole screen. Hackers often will tell you they have the key to release your systems and put them back to full working order, but they will only do this in return for a payment.
Usually, the payment is not too large, maybe a couple of hundred pounds and so many businesses pay it just to be able to get back to normal. What you have to realise, is that probably a thousand other businesses have had the same message that day and if they all hand over £200, that is very profitable for the hackers
There are companies that specialise in protecting your data, and dealing with this situation if it arises. If more people used them and did not pay the hackers, it would very soon not be worth their while instigating this blackmail.
Make Plans For Recovery
If your premises were not habitable for a few weeks, where would you operate from to keep your business going? Having plans for recovery after a disaster can mean that answers to questions like this are already in place. Even if you cannot run at full capacity for a while, you may be able to at least do some of the work that should be done.
Have The Correct Insurances
Most business owners will gripe about the insurances they have to pay every year, as most of the time none of them are ever claimed against. Insurance companies usually do special packages for business, which includes cover for employer’s liability, public liability, stock, equipment and business interruption.
The business interruption is the one we are interested in at the moment. The cover pays your costs for a period of two years so that your business does not fail because of the disaster. If your premises have to close for a while, legally you still have to pay your employees wages, your business rates, and any other business bills. Business interruption cover pays for all of these things for you, plus the profit you would have made, based on the previous two years accounts.
Hopefully, this is one of those insurances that you pay for years and never have to make a claim against. But it is good to know it is in place if a disaster befalls your business.
Keep Some Cash Handy
It could be that after a disaster you are not able to access your bank account for a few days. It is a good idea to keep some cash handy, away from the business premises. It does not have to be a huge amount, just enough to cover a few things until you can access your bank again. This could save you any embarrassment or stress if you need to buy something straight away.
Prepare for everything and nothing will stop you from running the best business you can.
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