Biba leads call for SMEs to improve business continuity.

Biba has launched a major campaign to encourage small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to improve their business continuity protection.

Research by Populus commissioned by Biba has revealed that many of the UK's 4.3 million SMEs are not sufficiently prepared for sudden crises that might affect their businesses.

Eric Galbraith, Biba chief executive, commented: “Our research reveals an incredibly worrying trend amongst the essential small business sector in the UK. Too many businesses are putting themselves and their employees' futures at risk by failing put in place proper continuity plans should the unexpected happen.

“Every business needs to be properly prepared for a worst case scenario. Small businesses are vital to the UK economy and we simply cannot afford for them to be complacent. I urge every business to urgently speak to their broker to ensure they are properly covered.”

Government figures suggest nearly one in five businesses suffers a major disruption every year. Further research suggests 80% of businesses affected by a major incident close down within 18 months, and 90% of those who lose their data are forced to close down within two years.

Politicians from across the political spectrum have backed Biba's campaign.

Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead who has been supporting constituents impacted as a result of the Buncefield oil depot fire in December 2005, has tabled an Early Day Motion supporting the campaign in Parliament.

He commented: “I strongly urge every business to double check that they have an adequate business continuity plan in place. There is a real threat that your business, and your employees' jobs will be lost if you do not prepare for the unexpected.

“Buncefield was a prime example of something that no one expected causing heartache to thousands. I do not want to see anyone experience the lows that my constituents did in 2005 and urge all businesses to get serious about business continuity.”

David Croucher, home affairs chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses said: “Small businesses are particularly at risk from the impact of an unexpected event such as a flood or act of terrorism. It is not just the initial impact that does the damage, it is the period elapsed until the business gets back up and running again.

“A long period out of action can spell the end for many small businesses. As a result, the FSB urges all firms to plan for the unexpected and to put in place proper continuity plans to protect their business and employees.”