I am increasingly concerned about the impact of a pandemic on my clients' businesses. What Should I do to help them prepare?
This is certainly an important issue for your clients but there is a subtext to your question. Whether or not your main consulting focus is in strategy or business continuity, I suspect you can contribute to helping your client prepare plans for and execute activities to maintain business operations. The subtext is whether or not the same factors that affect your clients will directly or indirectly affect you. If your client has to curtail or suspend business, what happens to their need for your services?
It may be a little late to develop strategies to build a fault tolerant and failure resistant business model. However, there are several ways in which you can support your client in the face of a pandemic threat to their business. Think how you can use your specific expertise to help with the following circumstances:
- There will be a need for information both within the company and with suppliers and customers
- Raw materials may be reduced if your client's current suppliers shut down
- Customer contact may be severely limited if operations involve facilities where customers congregate
- Key personnel may be sick and unable to work or unable to access their facilities
- You may be able to implement telecommuting or remote work if your client's information infrastructure is set up adequately
- Operations may be restricted by emergency regulations or administrative actions
- Demand for products may be affected, either increased or decreased, or the configuration desired may change
There are dozens more issues that could affect your clients. What skills could you bring to help support business continuity planning?Tip:
Regardless of the size of your consulting practice, this could affect your business as well. How wil you continue to serve your client if you are restricted from going to their office? Or you are reluctant to get on a plane or train? Or are expected to participate in focus groups or customer interviews? What is your own business continuity plan? © 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA