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Business Continuity Planning For SMEs

May 26, 2022

From high street shops and independent restaurants to nationwide city centre franchises – sometimes things happen outside of your control that could affect the running of your business. Disaster can strike at any time, and no business is immune. So how can you be best prepared if things go wrong?

What is Business Continuity Planning?

Business continuity planning (BCP) is a process that helps organisations keep critical operations running in the event of an unforeseen disruption. A business continuity plan outlines the steps necessary to bring the event under control to keep the company operating, and what to do in each situation. The BCP would also include any resources needed to allow the business to keep running and any actions staff may need to take.

The first step is to identify which business functions are those that will keep the business running. Then you can take steps to make sure that they can still be performed even if there is a major interruption. This might mean having a back-up site, investing in alternative suppliers or holding extra stock. It is also important to have a robust communication plan in place so you can keep your customers and staff updated on what is happening.

Why is a Business Continuity Plan Important?

However unlikely it might seem, there are many incidents that could prevent you from operating normally, if at all, such as:

  • Fire.
  • Flood.
  • Theft.
  • Accident or illness.
  • Ingredient or stock shortages.
  • Reputational damage.

A disruption to your business may be very costly. Loss of revenue plus extra expenses often means reduced profits. Many businesses simply can’t continue to trade following an incident, and a disaster can leave a business unable to re-establish itself.

Business Continuity Planning and Insurance

Putting time aside to consider a business continuity plan will help to; lessen the impact, stop your business from failing, if you do encounter a major disruption such as a flood, power fault, or a fire, and it may even result in lower insurance premiums.

Be Prepared for Business Interruption

If a disaster, such as a flood, affected your business you may need to close down whilst the issue is resolved. It’s important you have a contingency in place for this, as you will still have responsibilities such as paying your staff and rent, whilst you are unable to run the business. Business interruption insurance can keep you going during this time, ensuring your cash flow and reputation are still intact when you are able to resume business. Business interruption insurance can even help cover any additional expenses you have to pay in order to keep the business running, for example renting temporary premises, as well as the shortfall which occurs due to the loss of business.

You should also consider any other gaps you may have in your cover such as:

  • Property insurance and temporary premises.
  • Commercial vehicle or fleet insurance.
  • Tools and equipment cover.
  • Cyber insurance.
  • Personal accident insurance.
  • Employers liability.
  • Public and product liability.

Whether you own a restaurant, shop, pub, hotel, or another small or medium-sized business, it's vital to have the correct level of cover in place to ensure your business can continue to operate. We can advise you on obtaining the right cover for your business, including explaining from the outset exactly what is and isn’t covered, so there aren’t any nasty surprises.

Speak to smei about protecting your business.

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