Phrases like “disaster recovery management” and “business continuity planning” sound a little intimidating, but taking the time to consider worst-case scenarios and create a back-up plan for any disaster is vital for business success.

It’s unpleasant to think about the worst-case scenario, but not as unpleasant as dealing with the aftermath of a crisis if you’re not prepared. It’s like buying a fire extinguisher or getting insurance; you hope you’ll never need it, but you’d rather have it just in case you do!

My Own Business Disaster

Having recently switched from a home office to a serviced office, My VA Rocks was hit with an unexpected and potentially devastating emergency when the internet went down for five whole days!

This could have been a disaster for my business and clients if I hadn’t already considered some of the worst-case scenarios and put contingency plans in place. Fortunately, a little proactive planning allowed me to provide a “business as usual” service to my clients.

Here are some of the steps I’ve taken in case of emergency.

Hardware

I have spares of pretty much anything just in case something breaks or gets lost. Spare HDMI cables, laptop chargers, batteries and bluetooth connectors have saved the day on many occasions—I even have a spare laptop!

Internet

I have exactly the same working space set-up at home as I do in the office. If the internet goes down in one location, I can be up and running in the other location within 15 minutes. I’ve also scoped out the local co-working spaces for even more Wi-Fi access options.

Security

My laptop and harddrive are both encrypted, so they can’t be accessed even if they were stolen. I also use two-factor authentication for added security, and I use LastPass as my password manager to ensure that all my passwords are strong, unique and encrypted.

Contacts

I’ve created a MailChimp list for all my clients so I can quickly send an email announcement if something serious happens. My client contact details in my online address book also sync with my phone (which is fingerprint protected!) so I can access it from any device.

Legal

I have solid contracts in place and all relevant insurance to make sure I’m covered, no matter what comes out of the blue.

Support Team

Between my trusty employee and my wider team of dependable partners, I have plenty of capable people that I know I can rely on in times of emergency or sickness.

Preparing Your Business for Emergencies

Gov.uk has a great guide on preparing for emergencies that might interrupt the daily operation of businesses. It outlines what risks you should plan for, giving both quick-and-easy tips and more advanced methods for planning in advance.

Another great resource for SMEs is the book Business Continuity for Dummies, which was produced by the Cabinet Office in partnership with the Business Continuity Institute and Emergency Planning Society. It explains the importance of business continuity planning and how to put a plan into action. You can download a sample chapter or check out the cheat sheet for some key tips.

Looking for Additional Support?

Having other people on your team is crucial in times of crisis.

If you’d like to expand your support network to include an organised, trustworthy and proactive team, contact me for a complimentary consultation.

For complete transparency, the LastPass link is an affiliate one and I may receive a small percentage if you go on to make a purchase through that link.

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