Disaster recovery and business continuity plans are issues that almost all small businesses fail to think about. More frequently, they decide they haven't the resources to address such "unthinkables."
If your business was down for 1-2 days or more, what costs would you incur?
- Lost revenues and lost productivity. These are obvious. You won't make the money that you would have if you remained open. This is especially true if you provide a service. Services are inherently tied to time, and time cannot be re-created. Sure, you can work extra hours next week, but it won't be a service provided at the time it was expected. However, even if you provide a product that can be purchased next week instead of today, a customer didn't get it when they most wanted or needed it.
- Helping the competition – You give your competition a real edge. Present clients and potential ones may go to a competitor while you are down. Not all will return. Your competitors now have ammunition against you to use in sales pitches.
- Employee frustration – Employees will carry the burden of the extra hours and stress of helping get things back together. That can lead to a lot of frustration, which if things don't get back to normal quickly, can damage long-term productivity. Most importantly, it can damage the respect they have for management (that means you). In general, they will recognize that you didn't have the foresight and wisdom to anticipate the need to create disaster recovery and continuity plans. How can that not damage their trust and support for the company and you?
- Negative brand reputation –Your customers will also wonder how you couldn't have cared enough to make plans to handle trouble. Think of the negative way a customer sees it. The event suggests a company that doesn't think ahead. A client is not "off base" to feel angry that you didn't care enough to make plans to support him if a disaster hit. Also, if you can't handle disasters well, what else aren't you handling properly?
There are other far more serious consequences of business downtime than just unsold goods and services. There are the intangibles that can't be so easily measured but have long-term consequences. For example