As a business owner, you try your best to plan for the future. You start by creating a business plan that spells out your corporate goals, the products or services you’ll offer, how they fit in the marketplace and appeal to consumers, and how you plan to market them.
While you can’t plan for every contingency in business, there are a lot of potential ups and downs you can prepare for. A flexible attitude complete with a backup plan can help you to weather most unexpected setbacks. Of course, it’s always better to anticipate the things that could go wrong to mitigate any potential damage to your company.
When it comes to site downtime, your best option is to move forward under the assumption that, at some point, you will suffer loss of service. At the very least you’re going to have to shut down your website on occasion for maintenance and repairs.
Unexpected downtime can occur for a variety of reasons. You may end up with a web host that provides spotty service. Or perhaps you didn’t anticipate the bandwidth you’d need and your site overloads as a result (one can only hope for such problems).
It’s also possible that you could come under attack from hackers looking to steal sensitive customer data or wreak havoc on your company. Regardless of what causes your site downtime, you’ll be better equipped to deal with it and get back up and running if you have a plan in place to recover from unanticipated downtime.
Failure to plan for this potential threat could lead to several undesirable consequences. Here are just a few reasons why reacting to site downtime without a plan is detrimental to your business.
1. Extended Downtime
Suppose your car breaks down on the highway. If you’ve planned ahead, you probably have a roadside assistance service in place. All you have to do is call the service for a free tow and the time you spend marooned on the road will be short.
If you failed to plan ahead, you’ll have to find phone numbers for towing services, call around to check rates and availability, and potentially spend a lot more time and money rectifying the situation. A proper plan can significantly reduce your hassle.
The same is true when your website experiences unscheduled downtime. Planning ahead might mean hiring a monitoring service to immediately alert you when downtime occurs. This way you don’t have to wait for customer complaints to start flooding in to know that your site is down.
It could also mean having software solutions or service providers in place. These services can pinpoint the problem and help you to correct it so you can get back up and running as quickly as possible. It might also mean having a system backup in place to revert to just in case you can’t access needed files.
Your plan will determine your response to unscheduled downtime. This way you can minimize damage and get your online operation back in business.
2. Wasted Money
With no plan in place when downtime occurs, your employees may have to spring into action and work overtime to find and solve the problem. This could result in paying some employees to sit idle because they can do nothing while your website is down. Or you might end up paying some employees overtime to get your site back up – or both.
3. Lost Revenue
In addition to the added expense for labor, you are likely to lose revenue when your website experiences unexpected downtime. This could happen in a couple of ways.
If you provide an online shopping cart for patrons, they will not be able to access accounts and make purchases while your site is down. Also, new visitors to your site, upon finding it non-responsive, may elect to go to competitors, never to return. Both outcomes bode ill for your business.
4. Declined Morale
Employees may lose confidence if they see the company scrambling to solve a problem for which a plan of action should have already been in place. In addition, having to do extra work to rectify the situation because of the company’s poor planning could result in a decline in morale.
5. Damaged Reputation
If you suffer extensive or ongoing downtime issues, your professional reputation will begin to suffer. Customers may not see your company as reliable. They may complain in online reviews.
This can cause further lost revenue, loss of employees, and other problems that spell disaster for your company over time. Having a plan in place to deal with unscheduled downtime can make a world of difference.