Managing impacts on your essential operations

By renae hanvin

Mar 1 2023

There is nothing quite like a disaster to reveal what is truly essential to keep your business running. But why wait until the worst has happened?

Essential operations are the functions of your business that are fundamental to being able to trade. They include the things that you use to create your goods and services. Without them, you cannot run your business.

From having the right kind of business qualification or license to providing a reliable payment platform, many businesses will have similar essential operations.

But you should never wait until the chips are down to know what operations are truly critical for you to stay in business.

Let’s look at what might be essential to your business:

  • A shopfront (physical or online)
  • Power
  • Water
  • Equipment (computers, tools of trade, transport)
  • Licensing (compliance with industry regulations)

So how do you know what is essential for your business?

Broadly speaking, you cannot trade if you: have no customers, have no product or service, potential customers can’t see what they can purchase from you, can’t take payments from customers, are not compliant via your industry…the list goes on.

So, what do you need to get your products and services to customers? To receive payments? And meet industry regulations?

For agricultural businesses, water – and the means to pump and distribute it – would be considered essential operations. Knowing this, a farmer might plan ahead and focus on achieving water security by getting the right access or licenses to create more bores and dams, invest in a back-up pump, or investigate alternate water sources or water management approaches.

A carpenter or hairdresser might be required to meet certain regulatory standards, so staying in business would mean having the right qualifications and licenses, and the right insurances in place. While both professions may not necessarily need a physical premises to trade from, they do need certain tools and qualifications to do their work.

For a real estate agent, having the right licenses to sell, lease and manage properties, a reliable form of transport, and a paid-up account with an online real estate platform on which to list properties might all be considered essential to running a viable business.

All these things come under the umbrella of essential operations.