of small businesses never reopen after a disaster.
that do reopen, fail within a year.
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Business owners are the driving force behind our economy. Your relentless hard work and dedication not only provide essential services and products, but also create jobs and foster innovation. However, running a small business can be challenging, especially when unexpected disruptions occur. How well you bounce back if things go south is something you should plan for.
This article explains the concept of business resilience and what you can do to ensure business disruptions are kept to a financial and time-cost minimum if your business is affected.
What is business resilience?
Business resilience is your business's ability to adapt and respond to threats and disruptions, like natural disasters, cyber-attacks, or even global pandemics. It's about how quickly your business can get back on its feet, or even better, keep running smoothly amid these challenges.
“Change what you can, manage what you can’t.”
- Raymond McCauley, scientist, engineer, and entrepreneur
Why is business resilience important?
There are three main tools to consider
A risk management plan
This plan identifies potential risks, evaluates their likelihood and impact, and outlines strategies to manage them.
(Tip: The Queensland Government has an excellent resource to help with this: Identifying and managing business risk.)
A Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
This tool helps you identify critical business functions and assess the impact of potential disruptions on them.
A Business Continuity Plan (BCP)
Your BCP is a detailed roadmap for maintaining business operations during disruptions. Part of that is a back-up and recovery plan. You can download our backup guide and read more.
Building business resilience: a step-by-step guide
1. Identify potential risks and disruptions
The first step towards resilience is knowing what you're up against. From a business perspective, a disaster is any event that causes catastrophic loss, either full or partial, of the data required to run your operations. Disasters arise from natural causes – floods, fires, earthquakes and cyclones – while a technology disaster can range from faulty hardware (remember the Dell laptops that self-combusted?), coding errors, cyber attacks and sabotage or employee error. Every business is unique, so consider the specific risks relevant to your industry, location, and operational structure.
2. Assess the impact of each risk
Once you've identified potential risks, assess how each could impact your business. This might involve examining financial loss, operational downtime, reputational damage, or regulatory penalties.
3. Develop strategies to manage risks
Having identified and assessed potential risks, the next step is creating strategies to manage them. This might include investing in cyber security, migrating to a cloud infrastructure, diversifying suppliers, cross-training staff, or setting aside financial reserves.
4. Create a business continuity plan
A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a roadmap for how your business will continue operating during a disruption. It outlines the steps you'll take, resources you'll use, and roles your team will play to keep your business running. It also acts as your go-to document when disaster strikes and emotions are running high.
5. Test your plan
Testing your BCP ensures it's effective and identifies any gaps or weaknesses. This can be done through scenario planning, drills, or simulations. It’s also important to test it regularly. Things change and so too should your BCP to ensure it reflects your business today, not a snapshot from 3 years ago.
6. Review and update your plan
Your BCP isn't a set-and-forget document. Apart from amending it after a test exercise, it should be reviewed and updated regularly or whenever there are significant changes to your business operations, technology, resources or the environment in which you operate.
Resilience is a process not an end point
Remember, building business resilience isn't a one-time task, but a continuous process. It involves regular evaluations, adjustments, and improvements. It's also a team effort, so engage your team in the process, provide the necessary training, and create a culture of resilience.
Foster a culture of resilience
Any business’s ability to survive and thrive in the face of adversity heavily depends on its people. To ensure your team are equipped and supported to step up when you need them most, here are some tips:
- Embrace change: Change is inevitable. Lead by example and embrace it, then encourage your team to do the same. Adaptability is a cornerstone of resilience.
- Promote collaboration: Encourage a collaborative environment where everyone feels responsible for business resilience.
- Encourage learning: Foster a culture of continuous learning. Provide training opportunities and encourage your team to learn from each disruption to prevent similar ones in the future.
- Prioritise wellbeing: A resilient team is a healthy team. Prioritise the mental and physical wellbeing of your staff to ensure they can perform their best, even under pressure.
Implementing technology for business resilience
You can have the most resilient team ever but you put your business at risk if they don’t have the right technology infrastructure and support. Here's how a technology partner like efex can help:
- Data backup and recovery: A resilient business is one that can quickly recover lost data. Our business resilience solutions ensure your data is quickly retrievable.
- Cyber security: We provide right-sized solutions to protect your business from cyber threats. From firewalls to anti-malware programs and employee training, we've got you covered.
- Cloud solutions: Cloud technology allows your business to operate virtually, making it resilient to physical disruptions. Our cloud services ensure your data is safe, accessible, and backed up regularly. To see if this could be right for you, read more about our cloud solutions here.
- Managed IT services: Our managed IT services ensure your IT infrastructure is always up-to-date and running smoothly. We take care of your IT, so you can focus on running your business. Check out our Tech for SMB’s or Tech for Corporates web pages for more info.
Building a resilient business might seem like a daunting task, but it's an investment that will pay off in the long run – it’s not about if disruptions will happen, but when. With a resilient business, you'll be able to weather any storm and come out stronger on the other side.
Our team is here to help. Whether you need assistance developing a Business Continuity Plan, implementing technology solutions, or training your team, we're committed to helping your business become more resilient.