A quote often attributed to salesman, author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar states, "Expect the best but prepare for the worst." Over the years in the payments business, many merchant level salespeople and ISO owners have heeded this advice. It seems now, with disruption coming from economic factors, technological developments and environmental events, this advice seems more important than ever.
But how do you apply this when many cornerstones of commerce are now moving targets? A couple of things come to my mind here. They aren't the only ways to be prepared, but they can help ensure your company can weather disruptions and even thrive during them.
The first is to have cash reserves. When times are good, it can seem like residuals will always be flowing. It's easy to forget lean times. However, there is an unavoidable ebb and flow in the economy, and we all experience personal ups and downs. Thus, it's essential to put money aside during boom times. Do this and you'll have funds to carry you if your cash flow slows to a trickle or you need to invest in new tools to take advantage of emerging opportunities in a changing economy.
The other thing that came to mind is to have a business continuity plan. Such a plan is a system created for the prevention of and recovery from potential threats a company may face. It addresses the protection of assets and colleagues so they can function with minimal or even no disruption should a disaster occur.
The first step in creating a business continuity plan is to assess all possible risks that may affect day-to-day operations. Several examples are cyber-attacks, weather-related events, earthquakes, pandemics, and supply chain disruptions.
Once you identify the specific risks your company faces, the next steps are to determine how each of those risks is likely to affect your operations, implement distinct procedures and safeguards to mitigate those risks, and test the procedures planned to ensure they work.
Like PCI compliance, however, this is not a one-and-done kind of thing. Your business continuity plan can't just sit in a computer file and be ignored. You must review it at regular intervals to make sure it keeps up with changes both within your business and in the broader environment.
It might seem like it's not worth the time and effort to dig into the details and create a thorough business continuity plan tailored to your business. Keep in mind that business continuity is central to the success of every business. Interruptions in your business lead to lost revenue and higher costs, which ultimately mean lower profitability. What's more, delays in products and services you provide to merchants and other business clients can lower their satisfaction and lead to churn and even reputational damage—all of which lower profitability.
Planning ahead is always the way to go. Even if you face a completely unforeseen circumstance, the preparation you do now will help ensure that you land on your feet and are able to do what is necessary to move on.
The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.
Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.Prev Next