North East small businesses urged to prepare for the worst with action plan

The Forum of Private Business is advising small business in the North East to prepare a crisis management plan

Spending chiefs have urged the creation of a new £200m fund to help SMEs
Small Businesses are being urged to prepare a crisis management plan

Many businesses across the country are still counting the cost of the devastating floods over the new year.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is advising companies to prepare for the worst with a crisis management plan.

The planning process for this should start by assessing the likelihood of particular crises occurring to your business and possible frequency.

Failure to plan could be disastrous for your business, resultingin a significant loss in customers, income or maybe putting you out of business altogether.

Jo Eccles, business adviser at the FPB, said: “Many small business owners don’t like to think that the worst might happen to their business, but when it does it can have devastating consequences.”

A reported one in five companies suffers a major disruption every five years and 92% of those affected by fire or flood never recover.

Eccles said that if there was one valuable lesson businesses should take away from recent events, the best thing you can do is be prepared.

“Trusting to luck simply isn’t an option. All too often crisis management and contingency planning are seen as the reserve of large multinationals but planning for a crisis, and making sure that you have contingency plans in place to keep your small business going, is essential.

“It could be the difference between make or break should the worst happen.”

A crisis management plan sets out what your immediate response will be. It should be clear and easy to understand and include the following:

The people involved andwhat their role is.

Methods for identifying crises.

Methods for involving management.

Lines of communication.

Mechanisms for reporting.

Process for decision-making.

Equipment, facilities and occupation of crisis management centre.

Levels of control and authority.

Business continuity planning.

A good business continuity plan should set out how you are going to recover and help to minimise disruption to your business, suppliers and customers.

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