Few people think about a business continuity plan until their current situation falls apart. Recently in the news, we’ve been hearing about more companies going bankrupt and closing their doors due to financial pressures — there’s no doubt that these are uncertain times for many small businesses.
Having a business continuity plan in place can put your company’s future on solid ground. You never know what could happen, so if you have a mishap like a crippling cyber-attack or a key person leaving abruptly, you want to know that you’ll be able to recover as quickly and completely as possible.
This article will explore sustainable continuance as well as key considerations for developing a quality business continuity plan. Let’s dive in!
Identify the goals of the plan
The first step in creating a business continuity plan is to identify the goals of the plan. What does your company need to continue operating in an emergency? How much downtime can your company tolerate? What are your critical functions and processes?
Answering these questions will help you create a plan that meets your company’s specific needs.
Perform a risk assessment
Performing a risk assessment is a vital step in creating a business continuity plan. By identifying potential risks to your business, you can develop strategies to keep your business running in the event of an emergency.
There are many different ways to perform a risk assessment. One approach is to brainstorm potential risks with your team. Another option is to review past incidents and identify what could have been done differently to prevent them.
Once you have identified potential risks, it is important to assess their likelihood and impact. To do this, you can create a matrix with different levels of severity (low, medium, high) and probability (rare, unlikely, possible, and probable). This will help you prioritize which risks should be addressed first in your business continuity plan.
Don’t forget to periodically review and update your risk assessment as your business grows and changes. By being proactive about identifying risks, you can ensure that your business is prepared for anything that comes its way.
Establish the right team
The right team is critical to the success of any business continuity plan. This team should be responsible for keeping the plan up-to-date and implementing it in the event of an interruption.
There are a few key characteristics to look for when assembling your business continuity team:
Can this team be available at a moment’s notice, 24/7?
Does this team have the knowledge and experience necessary to execute the plan?
Is this team willing and able to take on this critical responsibility?
Does this team believe in the importance of the business continuity plan and are they committed to making it work?
Once you’ve identified a group of individuals who meet these criteria, it’s time to start putting together your business continuity plan.
Piece together everything
After you’ve gathered all of the necessary information and created a solid foundation for your plan, it’s time to bring all of the pieces together. This is where you will create the final document that will be used to guide your company through a disruptive event.
To do this, you will need to sit down and draft a comprehensive plan that covers all aspects of your business. This should include your evacuation plans, communication protocols, data backup and recovery procedures, and anything else that is essential to keeping your business up and running during an emergency such as key person insurance.
Test and review your plan regularly
It’s not enough to just have a business continuity plan – you need to test and review it regularly to make sure it’s up to date and relevant. The following are some tips for doing just that:
Schedule regular testing
Set aside time on a regular basis – at least once a quarter – to test your plan. This will ensure that it’s always ready to be put into action if needed.
Make it realistic
The best way to test your plan is to make it as realistic as possible. That means simulating a real-life disaster situation and seeing how your employees would respond.
After each test, get feedback from everyone involved. This will help you identify any areas that need improvement.
Update as needed
Be sure to update your plan regularly, based on the feedback you receive and any changes in your business (e.g., new locations, new technology, etc.).
All businesses, large or small, should have a continuity plan in place to ensure that they can weather any storm. By following the tips laid out in this article, you can create a comprehensive continuity plan for your business that will help you keep things running smoothly even when chaos strikes.
Do you have a continuity plan for your business? Let us know in the comments below!
Kyle Anderson is a Tech and Digital Marketing journalist whose typical day is spent scouring the web for the latest developments in the world of Marketing and tech automation. He loves any type of new marketing software! For his pastimes, he is an avid lover of traveling, gadgets, and travel photography.