Planning for continuity

Harry was good with his hands and he soon started a company building cabinets and office furniture. In time his business grew and began performing office moves and handy work in office parks. He was good at his craft, and his business grew in size, with his wife running the office and three teams on operations. He put his apprentices through school and helped them run their lives as well as he ran his business. They all depended on him, all of them. His wife, his workers and his clients, he was hands on and ever ready with a friendly smile.

Harry had a lot of knowledge, most of it in his mind. That which his workers knew, they gained from him. He was unselfish and made time to teach them when he had the opportunity. One fateful day, Harry, unfortunately was killed.

This is a problem faced by many small business owners. In being occupied with their business operations, they often neglect to put a continuity plan in place. This can be simplified to the following;

1. Ensure that the processes that you follow to get any output are written down in a fool proof way, that in the event you are in hospital or sick, the business can carry on without you. It’s important too that these processes are updated and refined.

2. Put a plan in place for who to call or who will help run your business when you aren’t around. Have you trained someone already, if not, start today.

3. Can your business run without you? It’s good to be indispensable however, as the CEO, CFO and COO of your business, you need to develop others so your time is freed up to think for the future, to plan better and manage the relationships with your big clients.

4. Another very important risk is the risk of a fire or flood, where can you resume operations etc, this is a good to have, you won’t have it in the beginning but as the scale of your operations grow. This needs to be a serious consideration.

5. Lastly insurance make sure you have liability cover in the event your assets are damaged or you experience major loss.

The list above is not one to be put in place all in one go, it requires careful thought. A start is the process document or manual. Make the process so easy that even a fool can follow it and not fail.

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