No business owner expects their company to face a major crisis. They’re optimistic that their company can overcome any problem. But when disaster strikes, your company needs more than just optimism. You need to be ready with a business continuity plan.
If you don’t already have a plan in place, here’s why you need one and what it should include.
What is Business Continuity Planning?
A business continuity plan is an outline detailing the procedures and instructions a company needs to follow to get up and running after a disaster. These disasters may come in many forms, such as your office building catching fire, a natural disaster (flooding, hurricane or tornado) or a cybersecurity attack.
Business continuity plans are different from disaster recovery plans, which tend to focus solely on recovering the company’s IT system following a crisis. Business continuity plans contain outlines and contingencies for all aspects of your business, such as business processes, assets, human resources, etc.
Why Do You Need a Business Continuity Plan?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom-and-pop business or a large corporation, you have no time for downtime. Not having a plan can be financially devastating. For example, IT downtime costs a company an average of $5,600 per minute, according to Gartner. When you have a business continuity plan in place, the key stakeholders know what they need to do to get your company running with minimal downtime.
What’s in a Business Continuity Plan?
Now that you understand why business continuity planning is vital, where do you begin? According to Ready, developing a business continuity plan includes four steps: the business impact analysis, recovery, plan development and testing. Here’s what you need to know for each step:
Business Impact Analysis — The first step is identifying the effects of a disruption of business. This is also the time to determine which business functions take priority and the resources needed to get the company running again. FEMA provides a Business Impact Analysis Worksheet for free.
Recovery — After completing the business impact analysis, and addressing any potential plan gaps, it’s time to develop recovery strategies. Recovery strategies are alternate means to return business operations to minimum levels. For example, this may mean developing a plan to operate out of a secondary facility, having the staff work remotely or using third-party contractors to keep production moving.
Plan Development — The next step is to assemble a continuity team. This team will create the framework of the continuity plan and implement it during the crisis.
Training — Once the plan is in place, the continuity team needs to test it. This means training the staff, so they know their roles during the crisis. During testing, you’ll be able to uncover any gaps and update the plan accordingly.
How We Can Help
Now that you understand what you need in a business continuity plan, are you able to create one? If you have no idea where to begin, let us help. We understand that small to medium-sized businesses don’t have the time, manpower or experience developing plans. That’s why we work with you and your staff to make this process painless and help your team understand their roles in the event of a disaster.