The Canadian Federation of Independent Business projects potential closures of between 71,000 and 222,000 businesses, or between 7% and 21% of all businesses in Canada.
Think about this.
Think about all the employees whose families depend on them for income. Think about the business owners who worked days, nights, weekends and made sacrifice after sacrifice to build a dream with a steady income for themselves and others. Think about the community in which those business operated and the fond memories that community members may have of these now gone businesses. Think about the tax revenue that was generated for the city. Think about the effects of the loss of those tax dollars will have on city budgets.
It is a disaster.
Why did our Risk Management/Business Continuity Management industry allow so many small businesses to fail? Why did we not equip those businesses with the same strategic risk management processes that multi-million/billion-dollar companies have access to? We know that pandemic planning is a specific requirement for many of the large, regulated – and well funded - businesses our industry supports. Why did we not make greater efforts to reach out to the smaller, less well funded, businesses to inform them of the critical need for risk assessment and assist them with building continuity plans that would have addressed pandemics in addition to the other business disruptions we know many will face.
I wonder where the leading risk management educational organizations were in providing support to our communities with affordable education on how to mitigate against risks.
Our small businesses ARE transforming
I am honoured to know many entrepreneurs, from a variety of sectors, who have faced challenges and found ways to continue operating through them. From having no social media presence to creating Instagram channels to continue selling products; from almost bankrupt to creating email distribution lists to keep up to date with their customers and offering discounts to make money; from not being open to cut hair to developing plans to invite shaggy-haired customers back for a well needed trim; from fear of online fraud to streamlining sales process; from a sitting fleet of buses to a domestic travel tour powerhouse; from melting chocolate inventory to developing unique gift boxes for special events.
These stories of transformation are awesome. The growth that occurs when passionate entrepreneurs share their challenges and what they have done to overcome them is inspiring.
What must the resiliency management industry do now?
Simply put, we must transform into an industry that will address the actual problem – helping businesses stay in business, no matter their respective size.
We need to enable continuity for all business by defining operational resiliency practices that can be applied to all business sizes, types, and organizational structures for the sole purpose of continuing business during a disruptive event and help transform businesses so they can navigate fluid or unknown environments that could impact the businesses’ ability to operate.
One such way to enable continuity is by blending risk management with practices from other fields. For example, we can incorporate perspective analysis from Agile user stories to ideate ways to continue business. By understanding what the expected benefit from key stakeholders (i.e., community members, business leaders, investors, employees, managers, families) is on a business during a disruptive event, that business can identify blind spots in their ability to plan to continue business.
Risk management practices need to be expanded and be effectively shared with all types of businesses so that owners have a line of sight into their respective risks and an understanding of how to manage them.
We need to guide all businesses through the critical thinking necessary to identify their risks and find all the avenues of transformation to continue business.
We need to share our knowledge with small businesses owners so they have fighting chance to survive their next crisis.
We can’t let another 7% to 21% of our businesses fail. If you are a small business owner and want to learn about how to transform your business. Join our free event on understanding risks, continue business - Transforming Small Business through operational resiliency.
You can also download our free resources that contain a "How to use our Agile User Story process to ideate change", Business Impact Analysis Template, Threat Risk Assessment, and so much more. Visit.
Author: Martin Gierczak, Founder