Preparing for the event of a major disruptive issue is often side-lined when it comes to small or medium-sized businesses. It doesn’t seem to be an intentional sweeping under the rug either, but a stagnant lack of awareness and a failure to recognise just how critical planning is. The three biggest disasters that could affect businesses have been identified as cyber-attacks, civil unrest, and floods: not exactly the most vibrant or exciting concerns for SMEs or entrepreneurs.
Indeed, SMEs and entrepreneurs already face a wealth of significant responsibilities including maintaining economically viable self-sufficiency, marketing, and overall management in a rapidly shifting and evolving digital economy. Co-founder of Nike Philip Knight famously quoted that as an entrepreneur, every day is a crisis. When a plodding existence in itself is pivotal, and sometimes a struggle, larger crisis preparations fail to take centre stage.
But, this passivity and unpreparedness with regards to safeguarding can be incredibly detrimental to SMEs. While a crisis event might make a dent in the existence of a large corporation, this could be amplified to catastrophic levels for an SME, disrupting in calamitous ways that ultimately affect people’s livelihoods: not simply a few pay cheques. A crisis event for an SME without preparations could dissolve a business.
As we operate in an increasingly connected world, concerns over resilience will only become more prevalent. In the last 12 months, 46% of British SMEs have been the targets of at least one cyber-security breach, and yet 43% admit to having no plans in place for crisis management, disaster recovery, or business continuity.
In response to this dangerously complacent attitude amongst British SMEs, Business in the Community, a membership organisation founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, has launched an online test for business leaders to assess their preparedness in the advent of a crisis. The test, called ‘Would You Be Ready?’ offers a host of questions and supporting advice to shed light on some of the most pressing concerns. Most SMEs are wrapped-up in the day-to-day functioning of the business until confronted with a damaging event, and it is hoped that by increasingly sharing knowledge about resilience that this will change.
As Joey Tabone, Resilience Director of Business in the Community, has stated: “SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy, and the impact that an issue or crisis could have on a small or medium business is significant, with potentially life-changing consequences for owners and employees, as well as having a negative effect on the economy.
“We are urging SME owners across the UK to take the test and use BITC’s free advice to scrutinise their own business practices to ensure they’re protected against future incidents that could put their business, and their livelihoods, in jeopardy.”
SMEs make up an astounding 99.9% of all businesses in the UK, so emergency planning is unsurprisingly becoming a heightened consideration both for the government and all working within the British economy. It appears that SMEs in the UK aren’t operating in a state of intentional languor when it comes to resilience, but rather, the significance of planning and the risks involved without planning perhaps haven’t permeated the national psyche enough to encourage notable behavioural change just yet. This needs to change; creating strategies to protect a business is fundamental to its continuing success. No business can avoid a disaster, but every business can prepare for one.
The ‘Would You Be Ready?’ campaign is backed by the government’s National Cyber Security Centre and Barclays.
To take the test, click here.
For some easy-to-follow security tips for your business, see this useful guide: https://www.theukdomain.uk/get-online/keeping-business-safe-online-guide/
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Rosie is a qualified Journalist, NCTJ certified, and is currently an MSt student in Literature and Arts at Oxford University. Having worked in editing, communications, and brand strategy in agencies in Seoul and London, she is passionate about producing intelligent writing with practical and creative value. Previously a Content Editor and Writer at the UK Domain.Read full profile