6 Ways to Expect the Unexpected in Business

Running a business is a lot of work. You can find yourself running around all day trying to get everything done that you need to do. If this is a regular day for you, you might not take the time to think about things that might pop up that could seriously disrupt your business. It's much easier to just hope that nothing bad happens and continue on with your work. 

However, bad things happen, and you need to be prepared when they do. The problem is that they often occur unexpectedly. Even though you might not know when something will happen, that does not mean that you can't protect your business against it. Here are some strategies you can use to help expect the unexpected and mitigate your risk. 


Identify Possible Risks 

While there are genuine events that are "unexpected," there are also events that you can prepare for but that can strike unexpectedly. To expect the unexpected, you need to sit down and take stock of what could happen to your business. This could be supply chain issues because of a tanker stuck in the Suez Canal or a virus infecting everyone who works in your office. Take note of all possibilities so that you can then start to plan based on them. You may need to hire a consultant who can look at things from a different perspective and from experience. They may be able to identify possible "unexpected" events that you are not. 


Create a Plan to Keep Your Business Running 

Certain events could impact your business in a way that you might have to close your operations for a while. One example would be a natural disaster damaging or destroying your building. You need to have a plan in place if that happens. This plan should outline what everyone's responsibilities will be and how everyone will communicate. 


If the workplace is a retail shop, the plan might involve moving to e-commerce only for some time. Or, if it is an office environment, they could move to remote work until things are back to normal. Whatever your contingency plan is, it should be detailed and developed well before anything occurs. However, it can also allow for flexibility, depending on the specific circumstances of the event. 


Get Insured 

Of course, knowing about possible risks does not mean that you can prevent them. That's why having the right insurance for your business is so important. If the unthinkable and unexpected happens, insurance will help cushion the financial blow to your company. For example, general liability insurance will protect against the costs of a personal injury lawsuit. You should also have commercial property and auto insurance in case of damage to your equipment, property, or vehicles. 


If you have insurance in place, it's never a bad idea to go over your policies to ensure that you are covered for everything that might conceivably happen. But unfortunately, some business owners buy insurance packages without taking a proper look at the entire policy, and they end up holding the bag when something terrible happens. 


Backup Your Documents Regularly 

Something unexpected happening could cause physical damage. However, it could also cause damage to your network and your security systems. For example, if you suffer from a cyber-attack, you could lose important files, including client data, to run your business. A ransomware attack, for example, is when a hacker will cut off access to your network and ask you to pay a ransom to get access back. 


To fight this and other ways that your data and documents could be compromised, you should have regular backups for all of your devices and databases. For online databases, back them up onto a hard disk that is kept off-site from your building. That way, if there's a fire or flood, it is protected. Even if you are hit with a ransomware attack, you can quickly access everything you need and get back up and running right away. 


Continue Evolving Your Action Plans 

Once you've developed realistic contingency plans, don't rest on your laurels. You should be going back to it regularly to update it and make any changes that might be necessary. You should also test out your contingencies, much like you could with a fire drill. Make sure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities and the importance of these plans. This includes checking on your backup files to ensure that your backups are working and the files are not corrupted. This due diligence will make sure that you don't discover too late that something is wrong or that an emergency procedure doesn't work. 


Have An Emergency Kit 

If there's a fire or a significant accident, you want to make sure that you can provide aid to those injured. Ensure you have first aid kits spread throughout your workplace in easy-to-access areas. The more staff that have first aid training, the better. A defibrillator is also a critical safety investment. Staff should also have training on how to use it. 


Beyond first aid, you can also build a kit that can be used in case of emergencies. This kit is not necessarily for first aid but for keeping people safe. For instance, if you are asked to shelter in place, your kit will have flashlights, blankets, bottled water, food rations, and other necessities to make sure that people can survive for a short period of time. 


Your business could be humming along just nicely when suddenly disaster strikes. Unfortunately, this disaster could be the end of their operations for many companies. However, it doesn't have to be that way. The best way to deal with unexpected events is to prepare for them as best you can. When it comes to your business, you should always take steps to minimize risk. You can make your business more resilient and protect it from harm when bad things happen by following these tips. 


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