As any small business owner knows, putting out fires as they come up is often simply part of the job description. It’s impossible to predict every niggle you might have with a supplier, every piece of equipment that might unexpectedly break down on you, or staff member who might fall badly ill. There are always things that are going to be outside of your direct control – but it never hurts to have a backup plan for as many contingencies as you can. By investigating and having a few reliable service providers and emergency contacts ready on your speed dial, you can significantly reduce the stress and financial burden associated with these disruptions. Here we take a look at just a few examples.
Alternative core suppliers
Depending on your business model, it’s likely that you rely heavily on at least a few suppliers to keep your company going. You probably have a pretty good relationship with the companies you use on a daily basis – but how badly would your offering to your customers be affected if one of them wasn’t able to deliver for some reason? If you’ve got all your eggs in one basket, take the time to investigate alternative suppliers, and make some connections so you know exactly who to contact if there is a crisis. Aside from suppliers, this principle of having a backup plan could extend to anything you need to keep your business running day to day – from internet and phone providers to your courier service – whatever your company can’t run without.
In the modern business world, there are few things more valuable to a company than their data. And while the majority of small businesses do now realize how important it is to have at least a rudimentary data backup system in place, it’s just as important to understand that things can still go wrong wherever there is hardware which could fail or human beings who could make honest mistakes. Whether it’s a dropped laptop, a potentially corrupted server, or a ransomware attack, panicking and trying to fix the issue yourself is likely to make the situation worse and mean you end up losing data which could actually have been recovered. Have a reliable provider such as Data First Data Recovery on speed dial and let the experts handle it for you quickly and professionally.
Small business legal advisor
If there’s one thing every business owner dreads, it’s running into legal issues with a much bigger (and much better funded) entity, or even internally with a staff member or your landlord. Luckily there are now a variety of affordable legal protection options designed just for small businesses out there, many of which offer basic protection and assistance for a monthly fee. Investigate what’s available in your region and be safe rather than sorry.
Basic emergency services – plumber, electrician, ambulance, cleanup, etc.
Just as you have a list of emergency numbers for your family members at home, it’s always a good idea to do the same at your office. This way if something goes wrong while you’re not there to help, your employees will know exactly who they can call to assist in the event they can’t reach you directly or there simply isn’t time to do so.
Temporary staffing agency
If you run a very small team where every single staff member is vital, it makes good business sense to have a preexisting relationship with a temporary staffing agency who understand your requirements exactly. Should one of your key staff members fall ill, have an unexpected family emergency or become unable to work for whatever reason, you’ll be able to avoid starting the whole process of finding temporary help from scratch.
Tow service and roadside assistance
If you have salespeople who travel a lot or make a lot of your own customer deliveries, it’s a good idea to ensure your employees on the road know who to contact if they get stuck. The best place to start is with your insurance company, who will be able to get you in touch with their preferred suppliers. If there are only certain companies, they allow their customers to work with, it’s better to know this before something goes wrong than discover it after the fact.
In this instance, it’s almost more important that your security company knows how to reach you. If there’s a break-in or some other emergency after hours, you’ll want to be informed of it promptly so you can step in should decisions need to be made. Your staff at the office also needs to know exactly how to reach help in a crisis. No-one likes to think about the worst-case scenario, but you can’t be over-prepared if it does happen.