These are strange times. As a novel and potentially destructive virus blazes a path across the globe the headlines are full of doom. Markets are down and maybe they'll stay down for a while. Maybe they'll race back up.
In history, markets have bounced back well following pandemics. But we don't know that will happen this time. Nobody really knows.
One thing that this has reinforced though is the reliance of Australian business on Chinese suppliers. We have all known for some time that China is a huge part of everything we do, accounting for 30% of our exports, as well as critical supplies coming back the other way.
Who could really see a situation where dozens of millions of people are placed in lockdown? It seems like the stuff of Hollywood. The knock on effect however is staggering. People not travelling, buying or working. We won't see the true effects for some time yet - and that's not taking into account that the same thing could happen in the Southern Hemisphere once the colder months kick in.
Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is one of the simplest and most important risk management exercises that your business can invest in. It doesn't have to be overly complicated, but by taking some time to look at 'unknown unknowns' that can harm your ability to produce your product or service, you can be ready for when unexpected events occur. It can form a part of your quality management system. Even if you don't have a QMS, have a BCP.
By putting contingencies in place, you can step through your ability to continue to provide to customers but also calculate the potential impacts on your recovery back to full output.
This is not a new concept but it is one that so many small businesses would not think to look at. Even if this crisis is solved with a vaccine and preventative measures through good policy at national level, we should learn about being ready for the next one.
So we have decided to make a business continuity plan template available for our readers for free so that they are enabled to prepare for the coming months, but also to take a more structured approach for managing risks in the future.
In Word format, all you need to do is read through and alter the document according to your business risks and responses. It may be one of the best investments of time you ever make.
The plan is FREE and you can get a copy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're looking for help in putting your plan together we are happy to help.
Right now we can only hope for the best and prepare for the worst but we should take this opportunity to make ourselves more resilient for the future.