Entreprises et crises

Every time I read the news, I am still amazed by how fragile our World has become. Most of the branches of our economy are in total crisis when sales fall from only a few percents or when a climate disaster appear at the opposite side of the planet.

From my roots, back in Aveyron, I had always seen people getting prepared, for example, when a war was in the news, they bought some food stock. In Aveyron, people always save money because they don’t not know what might happen tomorrow. They are perhaps not the kind of persons who take bold risks but they build solid and durable businesses.

They are seen as the Swiss from France.

What is business Resilience?

This is how I came to get interested in resilience. If you try to Google « Business Resilience », you will mainly find articles about IT Infrastructures continuity. But for me, as a Designer, a business that is resilient is a business that is prepared for the unexpected, a business that is able to maneuver, to pivot, whatever the kind of crisis might appears.

Do your business needs to be resilient?

If you want to keep the control on your operations and not to depend on an outside event, you need to build a resilient company. We always heard of agility, pivots, CSR, bootstrapping… all these keywords are connected to business resilience. Being resilient is investing on a long term vision, it does not mean to be scared and to avoid risks but to be solid enough to go through the storm.

What can you do?

1. Time

Allow yourself some time to plan and sharpen a long term vision,to develop your business, rely on your gut feelings. Read to build a global understanding of your « world ».

On a very operational way, do not overload your calendar, keep some empty spots to allow yourself being flexible (new prospect, unexpected deadline change…).

2. Money

You cannot depend on your bank, keep minimum 6+ month of cash-flow, try to develop your business with bootstrapping techniques. Depending on your size, it could be safer to have a secondary bank (in a different country/currency). Always negotiate and think twice before subscribing to a new service: you want to minimize the weight of your fixed expenses. Spend the minimum by default (except for your employees, you should take care of them!).

Do not depend on too few clients in the same sector. Build lasting relationship by being professional, nice and trustworthy… But get all your relationships on contracts!

3. Infrastructure

Get your infrastructures and website secure, ask for a professional IT person. Automate your backups and get them on a remote location (away from thieves and fires).

On your workplace, invest in hardware and furnitures that are solid and comfortable so you won’t change them soon and work more effectively.

4. Ressources

Write processes, comments and ask everyone to use the same file naming methods. If someone get sicks or needs to work remotely, if someone new is hired, everything will go faster and smoother.

Try to have a plan B for most of your ressources: keep resumes and freelances contacts in case you need them. Invest some of your time to build a small but efficient network of people that can help you.

Being resilient is a long term investment

Being resilient is a mindset. It does not mean to be afraid of anything but, as you know:

The only constant in life is Change.

So being able to adapt is for sure a path to success. I hope that these few insights will encourage you to reinforce your business in order to grow on the long run.

Notes : You can read more here: http://essentialink.com/what-is-business-resilience/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootstrapping

Pour les francophones : comment mettre en place un plan de continuité d’activitéhttp://www.sgdsn.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Guide_PCA_SGDSN_120613_web.pdf

Originally published on my linkedin page