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Expect the Unexpected II – Identifying Your Risks

12 May 2021

Last week, we provided a general overview of how businesses can plan for the unexpected; this week, we begin taking a closer look at each step business owners should take when creating their individual preparedness plans.

Step 1: Identify Your Risks


Each business’s identity is unique, and so are its risks. However, while we can’t foresee each and every unexpected event, we can winnow our plans down to the most likely threats. Consider your location, your industry, and the individual factors of your business situation.

Narrow your list down to your three largest assessed threats.

Now, drill down on those three threats – how might each of them impact your business?

Is it likely to:

  • Shut your office or facility down? If so, does the risk arise via physical damage to your premises or via health concerns?
  • Damage the reputation of either your business or yourself?
  • Lead to a potentially hazardous misuse of your product(s)?
  • Lead to a loss of business leadership (should the disaster cause your death or result in your leaving the firm)?
  • Create customer dissatisfaction with your product(s) or service(s)?
  • Lead to employee grievances?
  • Make your product(s) or service(s) obsolete (via technological or social changes)?
  • Interrupt supply chains for key materials and/or vendors?
  • Drive your revenue down?
  • Create a drastic increase in demand for your product(s) or service(s), which you will not be able to meet?
  • Increase your operating expenses to address the challenges you face?
  • Cause your technology to fail?
  • Cause an extended power outage?

Once you’ve identified the likeliest avenues of risk to your business, you can develop a response strategy, listing the best steps you can take in advance to militate against those risks.

We’ve created a worksheet you can use for this purpose – more on this next week.

Whatever your individual business risks, we recommend the following as general steps to take to prepare your business for the unexpected:

  • Make sure your technology and data storage resources are secured and that backup systems are in place.<
  • Set your team up for remote work to the extent possible.
  • Review your Business Interruption insurance to ensure it provides sufficient coverage. If you don’t have such coverage, get it.
  • Ensure you have a business continuity plan in place in case of an unexpected change in company leadership.
  • Keep your business premises in good repair; this will at least mitigate physical damages. And make sure your insurance coverage is up to date!
  • Ensure your contacts are kept current.
  • Make certain you have all insurance policies kept safely and accessible to you electronically as well as physically.

The good news: 14 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, you and your business are almost certainly much better prepared for the unexpected than you were at the start of 2020. Think about all the ways you have had to adapt in order to cope with the barrage of mandates, directives, and regulations. And that’s assuming you’ve had no other significant disruptions to your business operations, and that neither you nor your team members have had to deal with contracting the virus itself, both of which have further challenged businesses during this global crisis.

What specific challenges has your business faced as a result of the pandemic? What strategies did you use to meet those challenges?

And can you see ways in which those strategies can be employed to meet challenges posed by other unexpected events?

Please click here to email me directly – I’d love to hear how you’ve dealt with your pandemic obstacles!

Until next Wednesday –



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