Business continuity and the copywriter – Part 1 of 4

It isn’t rocket science

Business continuity planning is a widely used term. It’s also widely misunderstood, partly because most people associate business continuity with large corporations and major incidents.

If you have trouble with the words ‘business continuity’, try ‘contingency’ or the phrases ‘just in case’ and ‘better safe than sorry’. They all cover the same concept – preparation for a possible problem or event which could damage your business.

In broad terms, there are two types of potential problems which you need to consider as a copywriter: those you have direct control of, and those you don’t.

Let’s look at some things you have direct control over:

  1. The level of battery charge in your laptop (needed for client visits)
  2. Ink or toner cartridges for your printer
  3. Your diary, and the time you have for work

It’s quite easy to look at each of these and work out what you need to do to prevent any disruption.

  1. Keep your laptop’s battery charged and in good condition.Your battery will last longer (before it needs to be replaced rather than it’s charge life) if you remove it before using your laptop on mains power.  The only exception to this is when you are charging your battery.You might decide to buy a spare battery – if you do this, use them in rotation.Some devices don’t have a user-replaceable battery (e.g. most MP3 players, iPads etc.), in which case you may need a spare device – expensive if it’s an iPad.
  2. Keep spare ink cartridges. When you install a new one, buy a replacement.This can get expensive and tie up lots of your cash, so you need to make a judgement.Ink jet cartridges are relatively inexpensive, so keeping spares of these makes sense.But colour cartridges for a laser printer can cost more than £100 each and you might not want to have that amount of money tied up.  But if you monitor the toner level and your usage, you can minimise your risk by buying a replacement when a cartridge is down to 20%.
  3. You need to plan and schedule your work flow to help you achieve ‘continuity’.If you haven’t enough work to fill a particular day, use the spare time for your business marketing … to ensure you continue to get work from clients.If you have an influx of work which you can’t complete in time, try to re-negotiate some of the timescales with your client.If this is a frequent problem, think about outsourcing some of your work to other copywriters. Outsourcing work isn’t something you can do at the drop of a hat – you need to already have identified people who you can trust to do a good job.

Now look back over the ‘answers’ for the three problems – they all require a little bit of planning to ensure you can continue working, and make your business a success. They contain the essential elements of business continuity planning. That wasn’t too painful, was it!

In the next two articles we’ll look at events which are outside your direct control, starting with a look at a real disaster in 2005 which affected hundreds of businesses large and small, and tens of thousands of people.

The final article will guide you through how to make your business resilient.

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