Don’t get caught off-guard! Your startup needs a business continuity plan

By | 12th August 2015

Continuity Plan

We all like to see the silver lining in life. But, unfortunately no one is exempt from things going wrong. Starting your own business is a risky affair in itself and it requires you having to invest a lot of your time, efforts and emotions to get it off the ground. So there’s no doubt that you want to maximise your chances of success. Try as you may, you can’t always prevent a disaster from throwing a spanner in the works and completely crushing your startup’s fighting spirit.

Human error, natural disasters and things like load shedding can negatively affect your startup’s operations. While big corporates are also subject to suffering financial losses through disasters; startups are vulnerable to more extreme damage. Having to forcibly halt production or replace an expensive piece of equipment can result in your startup having to shut its doors. This is why you have to be proactive, and setting up a practical business continuity plan is the best way to do this.

Here are few ways in which you can ensure that your hard work, blood, sweat and tears aren’t for nothing:

Investigate and understand what risks your startup might face.

Before even thinking about setting up a business continuity plan you need to do your research in the same way as when you approached your business plan. Investigate any eventuality that could threaten any aspect of your business. This means you have to cover all your bases and think about more than just physical assets. Business insurance should without a doubt be your first approach. Just keep in mind that equipment can be replaced, but the backlog due to any downtime can’t be recovered through a claim.

If you are dealing with a lot of sensitive client information you have to ensure that there is a plan in place to protect that information from water damage, fire, human error and most importantly theft. You wouldn’t want your own personal or business information to end up in the wrong hands and I can assure you, neither do your clients.

Being organised can prevent things from falling through the cracks.

Business continuity can be achieved through the most basic tasks like proper administration. Everything you do in your business has a paper trail – whether physical or digital. The more informed you are of what’s going on operationally, and more importantly financially, the better prepared you are for any unforeseen eventuality. Getting your filing system in tip-top shape should be your first port of call.

I have written a blog on the importance of managing your daily operations and how this can help improve productivity. More than this, streamlining your business processes and knowing exactly what is going on at any point in time is another crucial part of ensuring that your business can continue should the proverbial brown stuff hit the fan.

You need to have your information covered at all times.

As I mentioned earlier, the loss of crucial information, whether it be yours or your client’s is something you want to avoid at all costs. Unfortunately, load shedding is expected to be a daily reality for all South Africans for quite some time. While having to light a few candles at night and cooking with gas or getting takeout dinners is annoying, having your computers crash and losing crucial data is much more serious.

Having a backup of all your documents in a digital format is only as safe as the device it’s stored on. Computers, laptops and hard drives are not exempt from failure and theft so you need additional backup. Online storage is still approached with a certain amount of hesitancy by small businesses, but it is in fact an essential part of business continuity. Whether you want to accept it or not, online storage protects information a lot better than you can. Should your physical records be lost you still have access to their digital versions from anywhere at any time – pre or post disaster.

Manage your finances better with the help of smart online business software.

As the saying goes ‘leave the best for last’, and ensuring that your finances are always up to date is the most important part of any business continuity plan. Poor financial management in itself is a massive risk factor that can crush all your startup dreams – statistically more than half of all startups in South Africa fail because of this.

Moving the management of your accounting online gives you better control over cash flow and means that you are always up-to-date. Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier, all of your sensitive financial statements and documents are safely stored online.

I have written a blog with more in-depth insights into why your startup can’t afford not to haveaccounting software. Give our easy-to-use online accounting and business software a try. It includes quoting, invoicing and payroll management to help you strengthen your financial continuity.

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Business Management & Accounting Software

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