These days businesses and their customers are more connected than ever. 

Most businesses rely heavily on fast, reliable internet to run their operations. For instance, it is generally required in order for EFTPOS machines to run, allows customers to purchase products and services online and enables staff and teams to connect remotely. 

Kathryn Ratcliffe is the owner of Mountain View Farm in Tilba Tilba and she says “we are predominantly a tourist accommodation business and all of our booking arrangements generally occur through telecommunications. 

“The bulk of our bookings are via online booking platforms, which can include channel managers, platforms like Airbnb, or people emailing us. People also call us. Because phone reception out here can be poor, I have two telephones – a mobile phone and a landline. 

If guests have no way to contact us, we wouldn’t have a business.”

“If the internet fails then it also reduces my ability to respond to the client, which could lead to complications with bookings, conflicts in timing and perhaps reputational damage because I’m not responsive to customer queries. It also means that managing the whole operation becomes a whole lot more difficult and less efficient.”

 

Do you have a back up plan?

Do you know what telecommunications access options you need or what to do when you can’t connect online? 

It’s important to have a back up plan and not try to figure out alternatives when the lines are already down. 

Internet and mobile reception has become crucial to not just everyday business operations, but also to receive emergency information that could protect you and your community.

 

Disasters can bring opportunities

Disasters can bring opportunities for businesses that are prepared to adapt when necessary.

If you are the only business in town that can keep trading without internet access, you could have your best trading day of the year!

Here is a list of ways to prepare your business to be able to stay open and protect your livelihood in this type of situation.

 

Preparedness ideas

Here are some tips for businesses to help them prepare for a telecommunications outage:

  • take the time to ensure your EFTPOS terminals are configured to use alternative connectivity in the event of a service disruption;
  • prepare a ‘Open for cash only’ sign ready to put up outside your business;
  • consider owning a satellite phone or repeater device;
  • a corded phone draws its electricity directly from the phone line (excluding fixed line phones on nbn) and can be used during a power outage;
  • buy a mobile device with a secondary network operator that uses different telecommunications towers (as not all networks are affected the same);
  • purchase a phone charger that isn’t dependent on a power outlet. A popular choice is a ‘power bank’ battery pack that can be charged from a power outlet prior to an event and used if grid electricity is unavailable, or a portable solar panel charger or in-car charger;
  • anything with crucial business data on it that can’t be backed up in a hurry should be secured or stowed with you if you need to leave your premises – provided it’s safe to do so. That means hard drives or whole desktop computers; 
  • charge your phone on the highest wattage charger you can find nearby for as long as you can. If you need to leave your premises, take the phone and the charger; and 
  • in the event of an emergency, know that your local broadcaster will also share information over the radio.

For a full disaster preparedness checklist, take a look at one prepared by your State Emergency Service like this one from NSW.

 

Business Community Resilience Toolkit in Southern and Northern NSW

Local businesses and business communities in Southern and Northern NSW can learn how to better prepare, connect, and build resilience over the course of 26 fortnightly modules as part of our Business Community Resilience Toolkit program.

Telco Access is the fifth module of the toolkit, but don’t worry! It’s not too late to sign up and catch up on the first four modules.

To join the program go to https://grants.corporate2community.com/

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