Being a sole trader, or running a small firm is a risky business. There isn’t an experienced management team capable of taking the reins should you become ill or die. Meaning 53% of businesses cease trading in under a year if the worst happens. To help, TM Law’s Terry Maylin explains the importance of business continuity planning…
When running a small business, most owners are focused on day to day delivery and doing the best for their customers. Unfortunately, this means they don’t always have the time to think about the ‘what ifs’ and plan for business continuity.
What if you were unable to work? What if a catastrophic flood rendered your office or workshop unusable? What if you were to die suddenly? These are unpleasant scenarios to think about. But, if unplanned for, will almost certainly result in acute stress and heart ache for you, your team or your family. A loss in customer and supplier confidence, loss of profit, and financial difficulties.
TM Law’s Terry Maylin says: “We work with sole traders and small business owners across Essex, and what strikes us time and time again is the number of owners who’ve not evaluated the potential risks they face. The awareness of business continuity planning is at a low. And, even though uncertainty is at an all time high, many business owners have not considered their ability to continue to trade and protect their livelihood should a serious unplanned event happen”.
What is Business Continuity Planning?
Simply put, it’s a plan to ensure trading continues through hell or high water.
A written document that sets out what should be done in the event of harm or loss to the property or injury or worse to you or key members of your team.
For example, a business continuity plan would consider the impact of a disaster such as flood, fire, or terrorist attack. Giving details of the process to be followed to ensure the business can continue trading. What should be done if access to the premises is not possible; which staff need to be notified, where the business can base itself from, and who will take charge if you, as the business owner, is unable to.
Five Steps to Business Continuity Planning
The process of business continuity planning should be methodical and rigorous; undertaken with the help of a specialist legal advisor. It should set out what should be done in the event of harm or loss and include all the vital contact details for IT and telephony providers, suppliers, clients, banks, employees, partners and more. In addition, it should also ensure that passwords (usually known to the business owner) are available in a sealed access envelope.
The process can seem daunting, but as Terry shows in these Five Steps, continuity planning can be simple and straight forward:
1) Identify your firm’s key business areas
2) Pinpoint your critical business functions
3) Connect dependencies between various business areas and functions
4) decide on acceptable downtime for each critical function
5) Buddy up with a close collaborator, supplier or even competitor (could you be each other’s business continuity support?)
Terry says: “Writing a business continuity plan is a valuable exercise for any small business owner. When advising clients, I compel them to think about the risks their business faces, and what might happen if they were no longer around. I encourage them to take steps to address all of the risks in advance, and to put in place a reliable process that helps them rest easy.”
Peace of mind and expertise from a solicitor
We can help ensure your business continuity planning is carried out properly and store the vital documentation your team or family may require should the worst happen.
Business Continuity Planning
From £150 + VAT
About TM Law – Specialist Commercial Law Solicitor
Based in Hockley, Essex, TM Law is a small and dedicated solicitors. With many years’ experience, helping business owners and local individuals with matters of commercial law, business continuity, personal injury, compromise agreements, employment disputes, debt collection, commercial disputes and much more.