Find the weak links in your business and make it stronger

Find the weak links in your business and make it stronger

The many upheavals of the COVID pandemic have provided a grim reminder that in business, there will always be factors beyond our control. That’s why it’s important to put measures in place to manage those factors we actually can control.

Many businesses have recently been given some strong lessons in where their vulnerabilities lie. Even if your business came through 2020 relatively unscathed it’s now a good time to think about these areas and put some measures in place to become more robust. While it can be difficult to protect your business against all of the potential unknowns out there, let’s look at some common risks and business weaknesses that you can address.

Disaster recovery plan

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) helps keep your business afloat and functioning well despite an emergency – whether it be through an information security risk, the loss of assets from a natural disaster such as bushfires, or even human error, such as deleting data.

These plans are quite often developed in the early days of a business and then kept in a drawer, only to be forgotten about in the day to day running of the business. While you shouldn’t need to consult the plan on a regular basis, it pays to re-familiarise yourself with it and if you don’t have one at all, now is the time to make one!

Interruptions to supply

Another area to investigate is your relationship with your suppliers. Are you reliant on particular suppliers or contractors? If so, you’re open to risk. What would happen if they are no longer able to supply to you because they cease their current services or their business folds?

Perhaps geographical instability or supply chain uncertainty could affect your supplier or contractor. The Global Supply Chain Risk Report found that increasingly buyer relationships are with suppliers located in high-risk countries.i

Assess and develop redundancies to ensure the continuation of a quality supply of the product or service. Figuring this out before an issue arises will mean you have options, should the situation unfortunately rise.

Client experience

You know your business back to front, but put yourself in the shoes of your customer. How do they access information about your business, where do they go for help and what potential roadblocks do they face in securing your services?

It’s worth testing every touch point your client makes with your business. Doing so will give you valuable insight into what their customer journey is like, whether it’s experienced in person, online, through support, accounts and day to day.

Mystery shoppers, a service often provided by market research organisations, are trained to report on what they find when doing an ‘audit’ of a business. You don’t necessarily need to hire a research company, a family member, friend or acquaintance could undertake the process. Perhaps they walked into the reception of your office and were ignored by your receptionist, or they had the door held open for them and were offered a friendly greeting. They may have had issues navigating your website or were left hanging on the phone for a long time. Their perspectives, as people with no vested interest in your organisation, are incredibly valuable.

Online assets

Don’t just focus on the external ‘face’ of your business though – you also should ensure that internal systems and intellectual property are protected. This has become increasingly difficult as the traditional work paradigm moves to remote work and flexible work arrangements. Penetration testing, or a pen test is where a simulated ‘cyberattack’ is performed so any weaknesses can be detected. Through this test you’ll find out how vulnerable your systems are to unauthorised hacks.

This preventative measure can save your business by establishing and strengthening security measures which ensure your continued service online, workflow within the business and client data management.

Reviewing where you are vulnerable and assessing which aspects of your business or processes can be improved is a worthwhile task for any business. Knowledge is power and identifying your weaknesses gives you the opportunity to address them and build a stronger foundation for business growth and success.

i https://www.dnb.co.uk/perspectives/supply-chain/global-supply-risk-report-q12018-cranfield.html

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.