In order to be successful in business, you need to be focused. This also means your team and anyone you work with has to be focused. Small business disruptions can cause major problems and mean that your work suffers and your business does badly. You could lose customers, revenue, and even your good reputation. The worse this disruption is, the more chaotic and negative the results, but even minor disruptions will have issues connected with them.
If you want to stop this from happening, you can learn to live with disruption and come up with ways to work around it, or you can reduce the chances of it in the first place. It is this latter idea that will be the focus here, as it is the option with the longest-term results. If you want to learn how to reduce business disruption, read on for some useful information.
Have A Contingency Plan
To begin with, it’s important to note that not all disruptions within a business can be reduced. Problems will occur, and you might have to shut down operations for a short time. This could be down to bad weather; it might be a cybersecurity issue; it could be due to staff sickness or shortages, and so on. The key to minimizing this disruption as much as possible is to have a contingency plan in place. This way, even if something happens that does lead to some kind of disruption, you can get back up and running much more quickly than if you had no plan in place at all.
An example of this would be regularly backing up your work. If you do this, then even if there is a software failure, you should be able to recover your work and continue your business. In the meantime, you can hire a software failure expert to ensure the same issue doesn’t happen again and to find reasons why it happened in the first place. Having these sorts of plans won’t make disruption any less likely, but it will make it easier to cope with, and ideally, your customers will never even know there was a problem.
Carry Out A Risk Assessment
All businesses are vulnerable in some way, and perhaps in a number of ways. However, unless you know where those vulnerabilities lie and how to deal with them, you won’t be able to put measures in place to help you reduce the disruption these issues could cause. This is why it’s crucial to carry out a risk assessment.
When you complete a risk assessment, you can immediately see where the issues might lie in your business. You’ll see, for example, where disruption could occur (perhaps in your computer systems or through a break-in in your offices), which means you can work on how to minimize that disruption (update your cybersecurity measures and install an alarm, for example).
The key is to know what you are looking for and how it could damage your business. You’ll need to think carefully about every element, both physical and virtual, that relates to your business and then ensure that chances of that disruption are as reduced as possible. This is not an easy job, and it’s not one that will take just a short timeand then it’s over and done with. This is something that could take days or even weeks to complete – this will depend on how big your business is and what processes you use within it – and it is something that will need to be checked regularly to ensure it is still relevant. If not, you’ll need to update it to protect your business and minimize disruption.
Make Changes Slowly
Sometimes you’ll need to make changes to your business, and this can, if not handled correctly, cause disruption. Change in business is a good thing as long as you have thoroughly investigated those changes and are sure they will be beneficial to your business. Change, for change’s sake, is not something you need to think about, as it will add unnecessary disruption to the company. Change that is necessary and that will help to grow your business is vital – but potentially disruptive.
This kind of change could include moving premises, opting for a remote working model, investing in new tools, or bringing in new personnel, for example. These things can all be hugely positive, but they will mean that your current business model has to stop before this new one can start.
Although there might still be some business disruption when you make these changes, you can reduce that disruption by taking things slowly. Suddenly changing the way things have been done for potentially years will make things hard on everyone. It may cause confusion and lower morale. It will mean more mistakes are likely to happen. By changing things slowly, this confusion can be more easily dealt with, and training can take place on new systems while the old ones are still in use.
There will be time for people to get used to the new way of doing things with small changes over time. Although it will obviously take longer, it means there will be less disruption overall, and your customers and employees will easily be able to continue without too many problems.
Give Proper Training
Following on from the point above, giving your team the training they need to be able to effectively work with the changes you need to make in your business is crucial. Without training, no matter how slowly you implement these new ideas, no one will quite know how to work with them or what they should be doing. Training will combat this issue and do more besides.
Training your team is a good idea for many reasons. Not only will it minimize business disruption when new tools are introduced, but it will reduce disruption in other ways as well. Imagine if one member of your team was sick and they were the only one who knew how to use a certain machine or piece of software. What if they were the only one who knew where to find a customer’s information that was needed to complete their order? This would all cause a lot of disruption within your business, and you might even have to refund customers or turn away work because you don’t have staff with the right knowledge.
When you train your entire team, you’ll find that this is no longer such an issue. There will always be somewhere within the team who can do any work that might be needed. It may not be their usual job, but if they can step in and help out in any department when required, your business can keep working as it should. Train your team members to be able to take on all jobs within your business, and even if they never have to use that knowledge, the fact you know they can do so will give you peace of mind and ensure that, should the time come, business disruption will be minimized.
Training is also a good way to boost morale as it shows that you care about your team’s development, so it’s wise to carry it out or arrange for it to be carried out on a regular basis, especially when new employees come onboard.
Spread The Risk
Another helpful piece of advice when it comes to reducing business disruption is to reduce the risk of that disruption. For example, if you only have one main supplier, your business would run into difficulties if that supplier went out of business or put their prices up too high for you to pay. Although these are issues that can be dealt with by finding another supplier, there will be problems in the meantime. You might not be able to fulfill orders because your supply chain is disrupted, and even when you get back on your feet again, you might find that it’s too late to salvage some of the orders and deals you had in place.
By spreading the risk, this won’t be such a problem. What does this mean? It means that if you have more than one supplier – perhaps more than two, to be on the safe side – and if something happens to one of them and they can no longer supply you or work with you, you’ll still have the others to see you through. You won’t have to refund any orders or cause customers any issues, and your business can continue to run. Although you may still want to find a replacement for the supplier you lost (and this is a good idea if you intend to continue to spread the risk of disruption), it won’t be as dramatic a problem as if you lost your only supplier and had to cease operations while you searched for another one.
Suppliers are not the only way to spread the risk. You can market in different ways so that if one idea doesn’t work, the others might. You can also try hybrid working rather than going entirely remote. Look at the different ways you might be able to spread the risk in your business so you can minimize disruption.