Lemonade and Business Continuity Planning – a view from Stuart Upton, PIB Risk Management

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Lemonade cover image

How are lemons, lemonade and business continuity planning connected? Our System and Process Director, Stuart Upton shares his views.

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, it’s a proverbial phrase to encourage us to think positively in the face of adversity. In other words, if something negative happens (the lemons representing sourness or something difficult) and you do something about it, you can end up with something sweet (like lemonade).

So to follow this proverb through I recently went shopping to get some lemons (stay with me here!).

How many of us have tried making lemonade? I can tell you that it doesn’t just happen by getting a string bag full of sour yellow citrus fruits and instantly becoming an expert in beverage manufacture. There is a lot more to it.

I did what a lot of us do when faced with a new challenge and Googled it: “I’ve got the lemons now how do I make lemonade?” And I was right because it’s not just the ingredients you need – that would be way too simple!

Even the ‘simple’ lemonade recipe involves using equipment such as a food processor and sieve. Plus you need something to hold the end product (the accompanying image to go with the recipe I had found showed a smart glass jug with slices of lemon and something green and leafy – I’m not sure what the ‘something green’ was as there was no mention of it in the recipe).

So what has lemonade got to do with the business world?

Long story short, I made lemonade. Was it any good? No. Am I going to set the world of micro-soft drinks manufacture alight? Definitely not.

Then what was the point? I hadn’t put the planning in upfront to make lemonade, though thanks to Google and putting a few short cuts in place I managed to avoid my lemonade tasting too nasty.

This made me think of the experience as inspiration for common place advice that business owners could consider should something happen to interrupt the day to day running of a business. How could they turn a negative into a positive thanks to a bit of forward planning?

A fire or a flood, total loss of IT systems or your biggest customer goes into administration, that’s some seriously big lemons to deal with. And unlike lemons you most likely won’t want to be in the position of figuring out what you need to do after the event. You can’t just Google “My business has just burnt down what do I do?

What do you do?

A lot of risks can be insured against through Property Damage and Business Interruption insurance. However, insurance alone won’t protect you against those lemons should they turn sour.

On the other hand, if you’re taking a long-term view and holistic approach to protecting your business, the answer lies in Business Continuity Planning (BCP). But there is so much more to it than that. It’s having sight of the bigger picture – the bits you do to plan ahead of an event, including what you could do, in advance, to help ease the process of turning your lemons into lemonade.

A lot of the groundwork is all about the ‘prep’ to get your recipe right. For the PIB Risk Management team, that involves gaining a full understanding of what your business does – not simply telling you what your business should be doing. We genuinely care and want to understand what actually goes on and what your business would rely on to keep it ticking over in the face of adversity.

Put the ‘ing’ at the end of your Business Continuity Plan

The ‘ing’ you stick at the end of the Business Continuity plan is essential and the PIB Risk Management team can help. Even better, as we are part of the PIB Group, we have unlimited access to a network of specialist insurance and employee benefits experts. They can help with other risk transfer methods as well as ways to help keep your people engaged so they won’t want to jump ship at the first sign of trouble.

If you would like some help with your Business Continuity Planning, feel free to get in touch with a member of the PIB Risk Management team. By the way, I strongly advise that you don’t use my musings here as a guide to making lemonade!