Protecting your business

The pitfalls of selling imported goods For further information please contact your local Trading Standards Service Made in China, sold in Bolton

WInTer 2016 PRoTECTInG YouR BuSInESS BuiLd your BuSineSS BAttLe Box How to protect your business in an emergency Every year, one in five businesses suffer a major disruption, and one in 10 of these cease trading How well is your business protected could it survive any of these? l Flooding l Fire l Loss of utilities l Evacuation l Prolonged staff absence l Pandemic flu l Severe snow and ice Karen Woolley from the FSB has been working to assist small businesses to put together a plan, which will help keep their business in business should the worst happen. The above are risks that we might all face, she says. It is impossible to guard our homes and businesses against most of these risks, but there are measures we can take to attempt to minimise the disruption caused. A little forward planning could be the difference between a business being able to continue, albeit in a limited capacity, and having to pack up altogether. The FSB is very aware that, as a small business owner, you are all things to all men within your business; you are the customer services department; goods in, goods out; sales; and HR often all in one day! But taking time to put some very easy measures into place will help to ensure that the hard work you put in to your business is protected. A good Business Continuity Plan should also form part of your general business plan. We are seeing more and more examples of lenders asking for evidence that business owners have thought about a continuity plan when attempting to access finance. A good Business Continuity Plan should also form part of your general business plan Every year, one in five businesses suffer a major disruption, and one in 10 of these cease trading. dont let that be your business. Preparing a Business Continuity Plan is very straightforward, and neednt be onerous or time-consuming. If you take these six steps over the next 12 months, your business will be in a much better position if an emergency occurs. Experience shows us that businesses are far more likely to survive if they have thought about risks in advance and planned accordingly. 1. Prepare a Business Battle Box, which should include: l Your Business Continuity Plan your plan to recover your business l List of employees with contact details obtain as much information as you can, include email addresses and next of kin details l List of customer and supplier details l Insurance company details and your insurance certificate, along with copies of certificates for other business-related insurances you hold, such as public/ employer liability l Financial and banking information l Contact details including account numbers for utility companies l Latest stock and equipment inventory l Formulas and trade secrets l Headed stationery l Building site plan, including location of gas, electricity and water shut-off points l Engineering plans and drawings l Local authority contact details You should also include: l Computer back up discs/uSB sticks to ensure you can plug and trade at a different location l Spare keys/security codes l disposable camera (useful for recording evidence in an insurance claim) This is not an exhaustive list there may be other documents, items or equipment that are specific to your business, which need to be included. Working through this list will help you to identify other items of importance. Make sure this Battle Box is secure and kept off site, and check the box every six to 12 months. Credit: Karen Woolley Images: tomertu / narong Jongsirikul / Shutterstock Should you wish to discuss emergency planning and business continuity issues further, please contact Karen on 01332 517176 or email her. 2. Identify the critical activities for your business that need to continue during an emergency such as payroll then identify the employees or other input to support that activity. Ensure that they are not a single point of failure, in other words, part of a system that, if it fails, will stop the entire system from working. If necessary, train other staff in these procedures so they can act as a backup when others are absent. 3. Store backup of data off site, but ensure that all staff know the secondary location. 4. Check to see if your staff can work remotely in the event that things, such as bad weather or evacuation, prevent them from coming to their place of work. do they need access to the servers? Can they access emails? Ensure that all staff have access to each others work and stored documents, so that cover can be easily implemented. 5. Your organisation is only as good as those on whom it depends. discuss with your suppliers and sub-contractors whether they have a robust Business Continuity Plan in place, and how this may affect your business. Also, discuss with them how they will support you if your business is the victim of an emergency for instance, will they provide you with supplies while you get things up and running again? 6. Put a date in your diary to review these six steps every six to 12 months to ensure your Battle Box contents are current and still in line with any changes that might have occurred within your business. Your local authority website will carry further advice and information on emergency planning. If you would like to check the risks to your premises from flooding and other weather-related conditions, click here. need A BIT of AdvIce? Trading standards is a great first port of call for advice and private sector partners, such as chambers of on regulatory services and the laws relating to your commerce, fSB, universities, enterprise zones and business. Some local authorities will even offer you banks. They co-ordinate local business support and detailed legal advice on the sale of new products connect businesses to the right help for their needs. and services particularly terms and conditions, and consumer rights. Growth Hubs comprise a web portal, phone line and one-to-one specialist advice. They are the new home The chartered Institute of Trading Standards has for business advice, funding and support in local areas developed The Business Companion website, which giving a route for businesses to local organisations offers information for businesses and individuals that offering business support or funding. need to know about trading standards and consumer protection legislation. Businesses can contact their Though particularly focused on small- and medium- local trading standards office for more information sized businesses, the Growth Hubs are designed to on their services. assist companies along the regions supply chains and local authorities aspire to across all sectors. click here to have the small- and medium- find your nearest Growth Hub. sized businesses in their area grow and prosper, and many for advice on a specific have their own business business sector or industry, investments teams to offer businesses may choose to support. In many cases, this is seek advice from, or join, a done in conjunction with local trade association. enterprise Partnerships (lePs), a partnership between local for further information, authorities and businesses. please contact your local authority trading standards lePs have developed local service. Growth Hubs that work across the country with Credit: Carrie Morris. Images: local and national, public VLAdGRIn / Shutterstock For further information please contact your local Trading Standards Service