5 Tips for Creating a Business Continuity Plan for Your Small Business
Earlier this year, COVID-19 spread across the globe. Governments, businesses, schools, and other parts of society have had to shut down or modify their function. Many companies scrambled to catch up with the changes so they could survive. So much has changed: employees started working from home, remote access is a necessity, communication looks different. Businesses have been scrambling for emergency fuel to keep them moving forward during this time.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
Fire, flood, tornados, power outage, cyber-attack, employee injury, or other major events are examples of unexpected events that can drastically impact a business. Interruptions like these can cost a company time, money, and energy. It is essential for companies, especially for small businesses, to create a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to think ahead of such events. They will need that emergency fuel to help keep them going.
So what is most important when building a Business Continuity Plan? Businesses must analyze, create a strategy for recovery, develop a plan, organize, test, and train.
Business Impact Analysis
Businesses need to consider the financial and operational risks of an unexpected event. A team of people needs to identify the priorities of restoration within the business after an event. The priorities are listed according to those things that have the most significant impact on the business. The impact can be about time, money, or effort to get the business back to full capacity. Once priorities are identified, a point can be identified when a financial or operational loss will start to occur and its impact on the business. Lastly, the resources affected will also need to be considered, analyzed, and prioritized.
Create a Strategy for Recovery
The Business Impact Analysis is used to create a strategy for recovery since it identifies parts of the priority’s business. Strategies need to consider the resources affected, including employees, facilities, furniture, equipment, technology, machinery, inventory on hand, utilities, and the use of third-party services involved with the business. How can a company recover effectively and efficiently with the resources (time, money, people, and energy) at its disposal?
Develop a Plan
Developing a plan is the process of putting an order of what will need to happen first, second, third, etc., in a business needing recovery from an event. A plan should be written and available when needed.
Organize a Recovery Team
If a business needs to use its Business Continuity Plan, there must be a group of people assigned to follow through with the plan efficiently. These individuals need to be knowledgeable about the plan itself but also in how the business functions. Each person on the team needs to be aware of their role and the role of a group so that there won’t be any confusion when there is a need to enact the plan.
Test and Train
The plan and the Recovery Team must take the time to test the plan itself. It is often hard to see the holes in plans until there is some testing. Maybe something in the plan will need to be tweaked to work more smoothly and initially assessed. If this is found to be the case, then the team and those involved with developing the plan need to make those changes.
Also, employees need to be trained on how to use the plan, who is on the recovery team, and their specific role if the plan needs to be used. A plan is not very helpful and useful if no one is trained in following through.
A Business Continuity Plan is essential to ensure that any small business has the emergency fuel it needs to survive in the event of any surprises. Just like a plane must account for an emergency and have an extra amount of fuel to help, a business also needs to be forward-thinking and planning for the possibility of an event that will interrupt its business. If these events are not considered or planned for, it may cost a business more money, time, and effort than if it did have a plan in the first place.
Leona is part of the content team at The Long Reach and works for various international brands. When Leona is not researching and writing, she loves nothing more than heading out into the country for some downtime.