Advice for businesses

Winter-proofing your business

No business is immune to the effects of bad weather but small and medium sized organisations may not have the resources or flexibility of larger companies.

A major incident can happen day or night, during weekends, and holidays. You may not be able to prevent an incident  and you know that the emergency services will deal its the cause and initial effects. It's worth thinking about how your business would cope in the case of:

  • flood;
  • power cuts;
  • key staff illness;
  • disruption of fuel supplies;
  • disruption of deliveries to and from your business;
  • disruptions that affect your customers.

A Business Continuity Plan will help you to anticipate problems and plan for them. Businesses with continuity plans are far more likely to survive a any sort of crisis and investors, insurers, customers and suppliers prefer to deal with them. Continuity plans also build employee confidence and business confidence.

Ready Scotland has some great advice on preparing your business for winter.

Ten continuity tips

  1. Plan for the effects of an incident not the cause. You probably won't be able to control the cause but you will be able to control your response to it.
  2. Make a business continuity plan. Find out how via the link to the Scottish Government's Contingency Planning Advice.
  3. Test your continuity plan. Make sure that all those involved understand it.
  4. Back up data regularly and keep copies in a secure place. Ensure that your data can be restored in an IT system other than your own.
  5. Make copies of important paper documents and keep them in water proof, fire resistant storage.
  6. Keep an up-to-date list of contact details for staff, customers and suppliers, somewhere secure and off-site.
  7. Check your insurance. Know what it covers and keep copies of policies off-site.
  8. Keep an emergency pack that includes:
    Your continuity and recovery plan.
    Key telephone numbers.
    First aid kit.
    Torch.
    Megaphone.
    Spare keys.
    Cash and a credit card.
    Some business stationery.
  9. Make arrangements for a temporary business base.
  10. Make an inventory of your businesses equipment, material, products and any other assets. This will make it easier to identify losses and gaps in key resources after an incident. Keep a copy of an up-to-date inventory off-site.

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