East Anglia–based members of the UK200Group of independent chartered accountants and lawyers are advising businesses to have an emergency plan in place just in case the worst should happen.
The UK200Group says that recent flooding to parts of the UK has highlighted the devastating affect that an unexpected disaster can have on a business.
A number of firms in these areas have been forced to temporarily close their business, cancel orders and in some cases contemplate their ability to trade in future; a position that no business owner wishes to be in.
Other common unexpected risks include fires, power outages, gas leaks, road closures and adverse weather, all of which can have a significant effect on a business’s ability to trade.
Small businesses should also be aware of the growing risk of cyber-attacks, which are thought to have affected around 33 per cent of the UK’s SMEs, according to the government’s latest figures.
Nick Willis, President of the UK200Group, said: “Few owners ever truly contemplate that their business will experience flooding or a fire, but it is this kind of attitude that causes so much damage to small businesses when something bad does occur.
“Most companies will have insurance of some kind to cover initial damages and loss of trading, but it is the longer term impact that most firms do not always consider.
“A business failing to operate for just one week could lead to a customer switching to a competitor or could delay agreed contracts, which might incur penalties or lead to a break down in relations with an established contact.”
Nick added that while no one can predict a disaster ahead of it happening, there are a lot of things that companies can do to be prepared.
“Business owners really need to sit down with a professional and look at what they can do in advance to ensure their business is prepared should something bad happen,” said Nick.
“This could include ensuring that the business has strong cash flow, establishing rescue funds or creating customer contracts that have the right clauses in place to account for sudden changes.
“These preparations need not be costly, but could make a massive difference in the event of an emergency.”
The UK200Group has members across East Anglia, including George Hay, Moore Thompson, Price Bailey, Lambert Chapman, Taylor, Viney and Marlow, Griffin Chapman and Edmund Carr, who provide a wide-range of services to a selection of businesses and individuals in their area.