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Business continuity for startups

Business continuity is essential for any business, even a start-up. Without the right planning and processes in place, a new company could be highly disrupted by an unexpected incident, causing it to close – just as it’s getting started.

For those business people who have just set up their company, this guide explains essential factors to keep in mind to provide effective business continuity for a start-up.

Business continuity for startups

Key aims to achieve business continuity

Good business continuity for any company, whether new or old, is about having the right planning and processes in place to speed up its recovery after an incident. To get that business back up and running quickly and effectively, it should achieve a series of goals:

  • Minimise interruptions – streamline responses to minimise downtime
  • Limit potential damage – whether that’s physical damage to an office or the consequences of data being leaked
  • Establish alternatives – such as alternative power sources to run a business during a power cut
  • Be responsive – to get the best response from staff, suppliers, clients and customers alike  

What incidents could impact your startup?

A good place to start when thinking about business continuity for your start-up is to look at the different incidents that could harm the business and the impact this could have. This could include:

  • Burglary – theft of essential stock or equipment
  • Vandalism – damage to accessible points of a shop or office for customers  
  • Cyber crime – confidential client data being hacked into and leaked
  • Storms and floods – severe weather damage making office space unworkable
  • Fires – destruction of documents, goods, facilities and buildings
  • Gas leaks – Preventing  full access to a business premises
  • Power cuts – Stopping the operation of essential technology or machinery

What do you need for your start-up to function?

When considering these incidents and the impact they could have, it’s wise to also look at what you need for your business to function. These will probably include key necessities like your premises and stationery, as well as areas specific to your company, such as types of materials, equipment or machinery. What you need to consider can be split across different areas, such as:

Data

  • Contact details
  • Passwords
  • Confidential documents
  • Company paperwork

Resources

  • Stock
  • Materials
  • Equipment and machinery
  • Communication technologies

People

  • Staff
  • Suppliers
  • Distributors
  • Clients

There are also likely to be processes you use which are key to helping your business to function effectively. This could include your supply chain for getting stock to your shop, the services you provide to communicate with your customers, and your methods of sale, such as selling goods in person, online or over the phone.

The impact of disruption to your business

Disruption of one or several of these areas could affect your business. Loss of phones could affect your customer services, for instance, while damage to machinery could lead to a delay in production. Other impacts on your business could include:

  • Slow customer communication
  • Increased expenses
  • Regulatory fines
  • Poor product quality
  • Loss of sales and income

Implementing effective business continuity for a start-up

Knowing what your core business needs are, and what can disrupt them, can help you put in place the right measures to minimise business disruption, limit damage, and establish alternatives to run your operation successfully after an incident. It can also allow you to respond to incidents quickly so you can get your business back up and running effectively. To implement effective business continuity, these are some of the key areas to consider.

Insurance

You should make sure you have the right insurance that will cover all possible disruptions to your business. This includes a policy that covers damage to your company property. You can read about this in our blog post, What is commercial property insurance? It’s wise to also have insurance that covers business disruption, so you can claim back loss of earnings if an incident causes damage that puts you out of business for several months.

Data

Data is crucial, especially when just starting a new business, so it’s important to make sure it’s all backed up. This could include your client and customer details, invoices and passwords. You should consider making copies of important company paperwork and keep it off site. You could also use online storage software, like cloud computing, to store some of your data, as long as there’s a strong guarantee it will be safe and protected. FSB members have access to expert cyber protection advice and insurance.

Premises

You should consider a secondary base that you can run your business from, if your company office is put out of action. This could be a room in your home or a conference centre, for instance, depending on your business. It’s wise to also have a plan in place so you can still access and work at your company if an incident only causes damage to some of your premises.

Equipment and communications

It’s important to make sure you have backup equipment, and a plan to gain access to it, if an emergency occurs. This could include materials or machinery that a supplier could quickly provide for you. You should also have the right processes in place so you can communicate successfully with customers and clients. This could include having access to emails and databases, or storing spare laptops and phones off site and in your home.

Staff and suppliers

You should have a process in place that is communicated to  members of staff, if you have them. Even if you’ve employed a part-time assistant, it’s important make sure they’re aware of your business continuity plan. They should know what to do if an incident happens to make sure they respond to the situation well and understand their responsibilities. This could include reordering stock or updating your clients. It’s also a good idea to have backup suppliers if a situation means your main supplier can’t deliver to you.

Helping your start-up with business continuity

Having an effective business continuity plan in place is essential when starting a new business. It helps ensure your company will experience minimal disruption and can get back up and running as quickly as possible after an incident. You can learn more about how to put one together in our guide, How to create a business continuity plan.

With our expert business continuity services, we can give you the tools, help and support to make sure your company can continue operating successfully if an incident takes place. This can give you peace of mind knowing your start-up will be safe and protected should the worst happen. The service, which we offer to all our FSB members, includes:

  • A helpline for expert advice to prepare and protect your business 
  • A business continuity report, tailored to your company’s needs
  • An online one-stop-shop providing business continuity templates

To find out more about this service and how it can help you, please visit our FSB Business continuity page. Business continuity is included as standard with our Business Essentials package. Please take a look at our package comparison page to find out about the benefits of this and our other packages.

FSB Business Continuity from FSB

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