In past blogs and through our social channels, we’ve spoken a lot about the two-fold approach required for disaster resilience: organisational resilience and community resilience. Businesses need thriving communities who need thriving businesses.
In this blog, I’d like to focus on how we can create thriving businesses. Organisational resilience is readying your business to continue trading, or get back up and running as quickly as possible when an impact occurs. Why? Because the best thing a business can do in the wake of a disaster is just to do business.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes need to think about readiness and consider the “what if” as part of their business as usual.
A recent study into small businesses in South Australia revealed some interesting insights around what this sector thinks of disaster resilience, what they see as potential road blocks and just how important they think building resilience is to ensure they survive and thrive before, during and after a disaster.
The research, undertaken by the Public Sector Innovation Lab – a South Australian Government initiative – revealed that small businesses across all sectors think resilience is important. Interestingly, for micro businesses, resilience is beyond disasters – it’s about thriving in the good times and the bad. We couldn’t agree more!
While it’s encouraging to hear there’s certainly intent to be resilient from the small business sector, the research found that some have a way to go to truly becoming resilient.
When asked what would be fundamental for their business to operate – utilities, IT and internet were the three stand out answers. These all related to critical infrastructure – something we’ve touched on quite a bit in the past. Why? In the wake of disaster, it is never more important for critical infrastructure to remain operational. In fact, the health, safety and prosperity of a community relies on it.
In fact, when asked what would happen if they didn’t have these utilities, many said that the impact would be huge. Both micro and small businesses said they’d suffer economic impacts, from lack of income right through to impacted goods (ie food) and inability to pay staff.
Given the above feedback, it was interesting to note that when asked if they had a business continuity or emergency plan, more than half said no, while 44 per cent said yes or ‘sort of’. Of those who said yes, their emergency plan came from a template from a supplier or an old template they’d been given.
Another key issue with the small business sector and disaster resilience is knowing where to find support. When asked if they’d sought support, 76% said no and added that even if they did, they wouldn’t know where to go. While some suggested federal, state or local government, insurance company, independent consultant, or good old google, the overarching message was that they find disaster resilience planning a very confusing area and they weren’t sure where to start. While we find this so hard to hear, we’re also encouraged that what we’re doing at corporate2community is obviously so very needed.
Our one final point worth highlighting is the question: “what support would be most beneficial to you to building disaster resilience?” The most predominant response was “link to local business community”. Again, something else we champion often through our corporate2community messaging.
When asked if they would be influenced by other businesses around them undertaking disaster resilience planning, more than half said yes. After all, building resilience among the business sector is about putting competition aside and collaborating, and we’re pleased to see some of the doors are open with these small businesses.
Renae Hanvin is pioneering business community contribution towards a more resilient future – providing strategic solutions to governments, businesses and communities that embrace ‘shared responsibility’, ‘shared understanding’ and ‘shared value’ outcomes.
To start doing disasters differently by putting resilience on your agenda visit www.corporate2community.com