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    Are you the Weakest Link?

    Are you the Weakest Link?

    By Richard Carman, Continuity Partner, 19th April 2016

    The quote “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” is as valid today as it ever was. It strikes to the heart of the buying process within many organisations. If the new supplier relationship does not deliver as expected then the buyer can minimise his personal responsibility by having chosen the market leader. Of course picking the market leader does not always represent the best buying decision, so how does a smaller business go about levelling the playing field to put itself in a less disadvantaged position?

    At this stage I could talk about USP’s, Pricing Strategy, ROI, Customer Testimonials and all of the other essential (positive) ingredients that contribute to making a sale but I am not going to. Reason being, there are numerous other articles out there that address these topics, written by authors who are eminently better qualified than I am.

    What I am going to focus on is the Risk that your business represents to its potential clients and how you can gain competitive advantage by addressing this subject head on. Back to the IBM analogy, this focuses on what happens if it all goes wrong. How do you convince a potential client to trust your business to deliver on its promises regardless of what setbacks, interruptions and challenges you face along the way?
    If you can demonstrate to a potential client that your business is Resilient then you are more than half way to overcoming the IBM challenge.

    In the same way as getting fit or losing weight, companies do not become resilient overnight. They can however make enormous improvements to their resilience very quickly by implementing a number of immediate ‘easy wins’ We call the ongoing commitment to improvement the Resilience Journey.

    The Continuity Partner approach to business resilience consists of 3 key steps. Just like getting fit and keeping fit the process can be quite hard at the start and the ongoing maintenance becomes much easier:

    Step 1: Readiness

    Gaining a thorough understanding of your business and its vital organs. Critical Processes, Resources (including suppliers), Risks and Mitigations. Implementing plans to manage down risks to a tolerable level and recover critical processes if they are interrupted for any reason.

    Step 2: Avoidance

    Monitoring all the factors that could change the identified risk profile of your business and putting in place measures to manage the new risk profile back down to tolerable levels.

    Step 3: Management

    Design and implement a team structure for the professional management of crisis situations. Our 24/7 team will support you with both the strategic (crisis management) and tactical (business recovery) aspects of your business should the worst happen.

    Once the above aspects of Business Resilience are in place we then issue a certification so now you have an objective measure of your Business Resilience alongside a Policy Statement signed by your board which gives a high level overview of your resilience program.

    Whether you choose to work with a partner to deliver your Business Resilience program or implement your own is up to you. What I do know is that either way, your business will reap the rewards of your investment.

    Resilient businesses no longer have to live in fear of the IBM question, instead you can proudly go on the offensive knowing that your competitors probably don’t have their house in order like you do. Just in case you are not sure of the scale of the opportunity to differentiate, consider these statistics…

    We recently conducted a Critical Supplier Review for a £10m turnover financial services business, to assess the risk levels posed by their 16 critical suppliers; ranging in size from £1.4m to £1.2bn turnover. When we asked each supplier to quickly demonstrate their resilience, only the 2 largest companies could adequately answer the question.

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