This article was first published in the Mercury Bay Informer of 27 September 2017. See www.theinformer.co.nz
Heraclitus famously said ‘the only thing that is constant is change’. This is certainly true in the business environment. While we are improving our organisations, for example by changing our marketing material or introducing innovation in the supply chain, other players are also exerting influence in the marketplace, and this influence may have an impact on our success.
While we cannot control or predict what other players will do, we can be prepared to respond to actions that threaten to jeopardise our businesses. Leaders need to identify what factors underpin the success of their organisation and have plans to ensure their continuity. For example:
- Is the business dependent on a few customers? Consider both how you can retain them and how you can expand your customer base.
- Are you reliant on a key employee? Document their knowledge and processes and arrange cross training with other staff members.
- What if your computer system fails? Are you protected through regular backups and anti-virus programmes?
- Are your health and safety processes sufficient to prevent both accidents and legal prosecution?
- Will your business falter if a supplier fails to deliver? Consider reviewing your contractual arrangements, identifying alternative suppliers and/or holding more stock on your premises.
Record your business risks, the likelihood they will eventuate, and how you will address them in a register. Review the register regularly, be alert to the changes around you and work to protect your position so that you are ready when the unexpected or unwanted happens.