Managing ‘black swan’ events

Businesses often ask how to plan for ‘known unknowns’ or ‘black swan’ events, such as Covid-19 and how to manage them once they’ve happened.

Thinking up worse case scenarios based on past events can help planning. Those that anticipated events similar to swine flu, bird flu or SARS will have had a good start on managing Covid-19. 

When managing the impact, focus on what matters. Keep the business going, so you can resume normal service when the all clear sounds.

For Covid-19 management, factors to consider include:

  • Taking advantage of government schemes to protect jobs, offer loans, defer tax and VAT payments, provide grants and extend accounts deadlines. We have collated all the latest advice and guidance at
  • Ensure your staff take advantage of support available for financial worries, wellbeing or at-home exercise. A Beever and Struthers client specialising in mental health has reported a 350 per cent increase in referrals since lockdown started. 
  • Remember you’re still a team. Working from home means a loss of social interaction and using unfamiliar technology. Keep in touch with your people, and not just on work matters. 
  • Cyber risk is rising with ransomware and phishing attacks and fake websites from fraudsters pretending to be HMRC, the World Health Organisation and the government. Remind your staff to be extra vigilant.
  • Tell your customers you’re supporting your staff and protecting your business. Keeping them engaged will keep their loyalty.
  • Prepare for the media. Business reputation can be won or lost by how well you handle a crisis.
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