Quality of Care Ltd

BCP – The Question to Ask

This question comprises two, monosyllabic words, which themselves are neither sexy or poetic and possess no beautiful lilt or rhythm.

But together – they are so powerful.

And it’s the one question you should be asking if you are to make good decisions and build a strong care business.

Asking this question propels you from the reactive present to the strategic future.

When you ask, ‘what if…?’ you cross the divide from the decision you are contemplating to the possible outcomes of that decision. You can see the potential consequences of taking the action the question is asking, as well as the consequences of not.

It is a powerful tool to have in your armoury and one you should use whenever faced with a problem, challenge, or decision to make.

Our subconscious asks this question all the time. But the question can be a double-edged sword. As well as showing us possible futures, it can then stifle our desire to take action should some of those futures be less than desirable.

For example, just over a year ago I bought a motorbike having not ridden for decades. You can imagine what less than desirable outcomes, the ‘what if?’ question conjured up. But knowing the risks and having since had a couple of close injury inducing moments, I have no regrets. Life without risks is existing not living and all that.

And last week I did my longest journey yet with a friend – 6 hours to Newcastle to see Eric Clapton in concert and 6 hours back the following day. Sitting for any length of time is still a bit of an issue but the buzz of having done it, regardless of the potential consequences, outweighs any discomfort.

In business, the question is invaluable.

In your care business ‘what if…?’ is a question that you and your management team should consciously be asking and actively seeking the answers to.

By all means, hope for the best but don’t base any strategic decisions on that hope. Plan for the worst and at least if the worst happens, you’re ready or as ready as you can be.

Asking the question will help you see possible outcomes so you can plan for the worst. It is a key element to being strategic.

For example, with your staff costs having increased at the end of April because of the rise is NLW and NMW, asking, “What if…our care home isn’t returning enough profit?” is a very good question to ask right now.

Having asked the question, how will you answer it? If you aren’t sure then this article will help.

Your Breakeven Point is About to Increase – What Will You Do?

 Asking ‘what if…?’ will help you identify and mitigate for risks and threats to your business.

What if…?:

      •    We have severe weather that means some of our staff can’t travel.

      •    A power outage means we have no electricity.

      •    Our care home suffers a flu outbreak or we are hit with another pandemic.

      •    Our care home is hit by a tornado.

      •    We suffer a cyber-attack.

When you ask specific questions, your brain can’t help but to envisage the scenario – you are propelled into that possible future and have to visualise the impact of this situation occurring.

You should think through and address these kinds of questions because of the potential harmful impact on your organisation, your staff and those in your care.

This is why having a robust Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is crucial. It is also expected – your local authority and CQC expect you to have a BCP in place to ensure that your business can continue if a problem arises.

A good BCP will identify risks and threats to your care business so you can put mitigating plans in place to reduce the probability of the incident occurring or its impact should it occur or both.

It should guide whoever is in charge at the time as to the steps to take should such an incident occur – how to manage the incident and who to call on for specific incidents.

It should prioritise the areas of your service that need to be back working in what time period.

It should be a tool to manage the incident and then review after the event what worked and what didn’t so improvements can be made.

If you need help identifying risks and threats to your care business and putting together a robust business continuity plan that will help you keep your business running then check out our Business Continuity Plan Pack.

The BCP pack comprises:

      •    BCP template document for you to amend to suit your care business.

      •    Forms needed to test, manage and review risks and threats.

      •    A Risk Analysis tool with which to assess the probability and impact of risks and threats.

      •    A Cyber Security Audit tool that will help you assess weaknesses and mitigate the threat of cyber-attacks.

      •    A BCP presentation to help train your staff.

Get the Business Continuity Pack here.

As you see, asking ‘what if…?’ is incredibly powerful and incredibly important. It works at all levels of your care business from helping you make it run better to ensuring its long-term survival.

There will always be challenges you can’t foresee, like the pandemic and the extraordinary rise in the cost of living. But the stronger your care business is and the better you are at being able to strategically mitigate for potential risks and threats, the better placed you are to manage the unforeseen.