Accountants based in Nottingham, UK

Business disruption: tools to survive

Most UK small firms are ‘unprepared’ for any form of business disruption, according to research recently published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The FSB suggests that a variety of internal and external threats could significantly rock the boat for many small UK firms. Some of the most common risks to businesses include customers failing to pay for goods or services, and the loss of key members of staff. However, a number of other risks are identified, such as IT problems, cybercrime, severe weather, transport issues, and even terrorism.

At present, some 65% of small businesses don’t have any plans in place to deal with disruption to the operation of their business or to their supply chains. Clearly, it’s an area with which businesses looking to plan for a post-Brexit future will have to engage as a matter of priority.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, said: ‘By implementing continuity plans, small firms can prepare for many of the sudden changes that can impact on them directly and their supply chains.’

The FSB has urged larger businesses to assist smaller firms with forward planning. It has also called on local government to emphasise the need for smaller businesses to put continuity plans into place.

‘One key step towards ensuring a business is prepared for any supply chain difficulties is continuity planning. This includes identifying the most significant risks to a business’ commercial operations and creating a plan to mitigate those risks should any of them materialise,’ Mr Cherry commented.

‘The costs that businesses face when their supply chains are impacted can be severe and therefore it is crucial that we stress the importance of planning for the future.’

The FSB acknowledged that it’s likely that most businesses can anticipate ‘Some sort of business interruption issue more than once in their life.’ But as well as sounding a note of warning, it is keen to stress that it is possible for smaller enterprises to keep buoyant – and that strategic planning is the answer. ‘It is key to resilience that firms are encouraged to consider all risks that they could face,’ Mr Cherry said.