Business downtime can be a huge problem for businesses of all sizes. Even a short amount of downtime can cost a business thousands or more. The way in which downtime truly affects you will vary depending on the kind of business you run, as well as other factors.

Let’s talk about the true cost of downtime for your business, with a few shocking stats and why you should be working as hard as possible to minimize downtime with key systems in place.

The Shocking Costs Of Downtime Each Minute

Downtime can cost different amounts depending on what your business is, how long you’re down for, and where you are in the world. According to Industry Week, downtime can cost $17,000 per incident. It isn’t always as high as that, but it can be a substantial loss for a business.

When looking at data center downtime, for example, the average cost of downtime per minute for a business was a massive $5,600. Downtime is massively expensive, and a business will usually experience at least one hour of downtime per year. If you want to avoid losing thousands of dollars in revenue, as well as the host of other problems that can come with business downtime, you need systems and processes in place that can help to identify when an issue could crop up.

You should also make sure you have strong strategies and plans ready for a time when downtime could occur, so you’re ready to deal with it. It’s a good idea to have a company who can deal with this sort of thing as quickly as possible. Many businesses even hire their own in house IT companies and similar services to protect themselves.

The Difference Between Planned Vs. Unplanned Downtime

The two kinds of downtime are planned and unplanned. Planned downtime is classed as the time you schedule to do routine maintenance of your hardware and software. If you do plan some downtime, you should make sure you inform your clients in advance and also remind them nearer to the time.

This will minimize any damage, and they’ll feel reassured that you’re coming back soon. Make sure you stick to what you tell them and get things done as quickly as possible. It could be a good idea to take care of maintenance and certain things outside of peak hours to minimize disruption.

Unplanned downtime is when something happens to stop your business from running smoothly. This could be a system crash, a hack on your system, or even an employee needing laptop repair. The main causes of this type of downtime is usually hardware failure due to faulty components, software crashes, natural disasters, or human errors that have been made.

If you do happen to have unplanned downtime issues, you must make sure you keep your clients/customers updated via social media so they can feel reassured that you’ll be back up and running in a timely manner. If you don’t, they may feel compelled to go somewhere else. At the very least, they will lose a little confidence in you and your reputation may suffer as a result.

However, the way downtime affects you will depend on whether it happens during peak hours, and how long the downtime is. Sometimes, you may simply run into ‘soft downtime’ where performance is impaired a little. Hard downtime is classed as a total system crash where you can’t work at all. Not only could your profitability be affected by this, you could also find you have other problems to deal with.

Business Reputation And Loyalty

If you suffer from unplanned downtime for a length of time, you may find that your business reputation suffers as a result. You can’t blame your audience for losing a little confidence in you, and thinking twice about working with you. It may affect loyalty in some way. The best way to fix this is to be honest about what’s going on, and keep your audience informed as much as possible.

You may also want to consider some kind of apology and discount/freebie to make it up to them. It may not have bothered them much, but the more open and apologetic you are about it, the better. It’s true that all businesses will have to go through it at some point, and it may not be your fault, but you must still deal with it properly. Don’t act like it never happened!

Employee Productivity

Of course business downtime can affect employee productivity too. This is why it’s so important to have a plan in place if anything should happen. Do you let your employees browse social media, or do you encourage them to learn and do something productive with this time?

You may not be able to control how quickly your business gets back up and running, but you can make sure employees are still productive. Maybe you could even schedule some team building exercises so that communication and other skills are improved in the workplace.

Your Search Ranking

Many people wonder whether their search ranking can be affected by system downtime. The good news is, downtime no longer has to mean that your search ranking is affected. In the past, a business could take a huge tumble down the rankings of Google crawled the site and found it down.

It’s only if your site is down for a substantial period of time that your ranking will be affected. This is down to Google’s mission to provide a positive user experience – they don’t want to send users to a site that they know is down. However, if you rectify the problem in a timely manner, your search ranking should be fine.

This is so because Google used to crawl a site once a month, and if it happened to be down at the time, then it would take a huge hit. However, as Google now crawls sites far more regularly, it’ll only be a problem if it’s down for a sustained amount of time. Your goal should be to get back up as quickly as possible to keep your profitability, customers, staff, and reputation in tact.

Other Things That Can Happen Due To Business Downtime:

  • Customer loss
  • Potential lawsuits (a sensitive information leak/hack, for instance)
  • Damage to your marketing campaigns
  • Damage to customer relationships

If you don’t handle your business downtime properly, you can expect some of the above things to take place. If you and your team know what to do, then you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the negative effects it can bring with it.

Downtime Facts And Statistics

Some of the downtime statistics can be quite shocking. Take a look:

  • Businesses suffer an average of 27 hours unplanned downtime per year.
  • Only 3% of companies have 100% uptime.
  • 300,000 hours are lost annually through unplanned downtime. That’s a lot of profit!
  • 48% of businesses have issues related to tech on a daily basis.
  • 81% of companies experience the same issue again after the first occurrence.
  • 60% of companies said that human error is the most common cause of downtime.

If these stats tell you anything, it’s that you need strong processes in place to avoid downtime going on for an extended period of time.

How You Can Maximize Downtime

Although most businesses would say they didn’t want downtime at all, and taking the steps to avoid it is crucial, you can maximize downtime if you’re smart about it. Here are a few things you can try:

  • Do something unique – instead of allowing everybody to sit there twiddling their thumbs, you could find something new and unique for them to do. Why not encourage employees to find out more about other roles in the company? This could help to build better relationships in the workplace, a better atmosphere, and promote knowledge sharing.
  • Make downtime your time – why not encourage everybody, you included, to take downtime as ‘me time’? Do things that will boost your well being and energy levels and you’ll feel so much better.
  • Meditate/deep breathing – meditation and deep breathing have many proven benefits. They can reduce stress, and help us all to focus on the present moment. Getting into the habit of doing this regularly will help you to improve your attitude and focus, so you can bring your best self to your business. It’ll help in both the short term and long term.

Now you know the true cost of downtime for your business, what are you going to do about it? If you don’t have a solid plan in place, then you can expect to suffer with many different issues as a result. Chances are, you will have to deal with downtime at some point, so don’t take a risk.

Downtime can even kill businesses if the issues is bad enough – don’t take it lightly. Use what you’ve learned here to minimize downtime and create a better customer experience. Leave your thoughts and tips on downtime below!