Many of us are getting used to going in and out of lockdown or living with uncertainty. Take back some control with a crisis plan. So, y’know, it’s no longer a crisis!
A business crisis plan helps prepare your business for emergency situations such as COVID-19 or other natural disasters.
Also called a crisis management plan or continuity plan, it can make your business more resilient, protect your livelihood, and give you back some control.
Here are five steps to developing this essential plan.
Step 1 – Plan for continuity
The first part of your crisis plan is all about how your business can continue its operations. This helps you prepare for an emergency by figuring out what the risks to your business are and how to minimise them.
As part of the continuity plan, you’ll analyse and note down your:
- Risk management
- Critical business area analysis
- Scenario planning
- Property and infrastructure
- ‘Business as usual’ planning
- Key personnel training
- Skill retention strategies
- Data security and backup strategy
- Environmental resilience
Step 2 – Prepare for emergency actions
Next, prepare for emergency situations so you and your staff know what to do.
You may already have some protocols in place for fires and floods. But you’ll also want to add COVID-19 emergencies such as lockdowns, or what to do if your staff have been exposed to the virus or if they experience symptoms.
Your emergency plan should include:
- Emergency contacts
- Emergency procedures
- Evacuation drill schedule
- Emergency kit
- Emergency team roles and responsibilities
Step 3 – Understand recovery
This essential step guides your business after a disaster, helping it bounce back financially and return to normal activities.
Consider recovery after lockdown as you outline your:
- Business impact assessment
- Recovery contacts
- Insurance claims
- Market assessment
- Marketing strategy
Step 4 – Secure your finances
When a crisis strikes, you’ll need to assess your business finances to help guide you through the hardship.
By tallying up the following figures, you’ll better understand how to keep your business afloat:
- Current creditors
- Current debtors
- Government funding
- Expected cash flow
Step 5 – Practice
Once you’ve prepared your plan, you’ve made a good start towards securing your business. But you’ll need to test the plan, familiarise yourself and your staff with how to use it, and revisit it regularly.
As the months go by, you’ll need to update your plan to match current laws, best practices and technologies. Without regular review, your plan could become obsolete and useless.
Templates and Guides
As you can see, there are a lot of details that go into a business crisis plan. Luckily there are plenty of resources out there to help you create a solid plan.
You might like to use the Australian Government’s Emergency Management Plan templates and guides. These documents can be printed or stored on computers.
Or, go digital and create your plan using apps and software. Some options include Microsoft’s Crisis Management App or an app for small businesses on a budget called Crisis Shield.
Secured your business? Great. Now you’re in a position to consider doing some good for others.
Here are a few great charities that are helping Australian and international communities through the pandemic.
The Red Cross – helping the most vulnerable Aussies (those without income support or a network of family and friends) throughout mandatory self-isolation and quarantine.
UNICEF – supplying life-saving PPE, oxygen and vaccines to international communities with surging infection rates, such as in Nepal, Brazil and others.
Food Bank – helping to feed the one in five Aussies who are food-insecure as a result of the pandemic and lockdowns. Food Bank provided 87.9 million meals in 2019 alone, even before COVID-19 arrived.
Crisis planning for small business
If you don’t yet have your crisis plan sorted, consider your next lockdown a perfect opportunity to put one in place.
This plan will give you back your control and help your business survive the COVID-19 pandemic and whatever else nature will throw at it in the future.