Business Continuity Planning
We live in an uncertain, everchanging world and whatever the size of your company, business continuity planning for the unexpected is important. Disruption to your business can be triggered by many causes from extreme weather to a terrorist attack but having a plan in place should help recovery time.
Analysing business risks
Questions worth asking:
- How likely is it to happen and what is the worst case scenario?
- What effect would the interruption have on my business?
Analysing business processes
Investigate your processes and procedures and identify critical activities of your business. This will allow you to focus attention on the tasks and activities that must be done to keep trading. Consider which business processes could be impacted:
- Loss of internet connection for a week
- Destruction of documents by flood or fire
- Staff physically unable to come into the office for a month
Work out the options for each process:
- Remove the risk
- Reduce the risk
- Accept the risk with suitable workaround
Disaster recovery plan
Once the risks have been identified you can put a plan in place to initiate a business resilience strategy.
- What resources would you need to recover and maintain the activities of your business?
- Whose role is it to be responsible for implementing the strategy?
- Establish a communications procedure. Who will be responsible for communicating with internal (staff) and external (customers, suppliers, partners) stakeholders? Online communications platforms such as your website and social media platforms should be included, and you could consider:
- If customers need to contact you for advice or to discuss an issue can they easily find your contact details online?
- Do you regularly check your customer service inbox?
- Is your website fully working and is it optimised for mobile devices as well as on desktops and laptops?
- If you have an online shop is it up to date?
- Work out how long it should take for “normal business” to resume and write down a timetabled plan so you will know what to do and when.
Test the plan
This is really important and an untested plan may not work. It’s important that all internal stakeholders understand their role. Remember to update your plan regularly to account for changes in your business.
Understand your insurance policy
Calculating your business costs and making adequate protection for business interruption is key to making sure you don’t lose out should you cease trading for any reason. Overheads, payroll, leases, general running costs and all other outgoings your business has, all need to be taken into account.