In any business, sometimes it is unavoidable to experience unexpected incidents. Natural disasters, machine and equipment failure, sudden power outages, or highly specialized and skilled employees leaving the company are things that may not be prevented, but by having a business continuity plan you can at least be prepared to deal with these unexpected events. This way you will be ready to handle problems as they occur and continue conducting business as usual.
Before we take a look at the importance of business continuity planning, let’s learn what it is.
The Definition of Business Continuity Planning
Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is the process of creating a thorough and comprehensive strategy for continuing and keeping your business operations running in case of emergencies or major disruptions. Once a business continuity plan is set in place, it should include a detailed guide with instructions, tasks, and procedures, employees need to follow and utilize in case of disasters or any other disturbances or interruptions.
The Importance of Having a Business Continuity Plan
It is not surprising that some businesses never recover from some kind of disastrous event. According to Network Outsource, 40% to 60% of small businesses never recover from disasters and shut down soon after.
An effective BCP will not only help you with continuing operations as usual, but will also give guidance on how to handle your communications, personnel, processes, assets, and much more. It ensures that you can deal with emergencies quickly and effectively, at the same time providing solutions on how to successfully recover your business and minimize your losses.
How to Develop an Effective Business Continuity Plan
There are a few steps you should follow to make a great BCP.
1. Gather Resources
To instantly have access to email addresses and phone numbers of employees, contractors, and clients, you should compile a list that contains all the necessary information. This eliminates the need to track down their contact information and it will save you time. To be able to quickly repair or replace any equipment, make an inventory of it and include all model numbers. Make sure to have contact information of those who sell or service the machinery. To sustain operations, you need to be able to quickly recover data and records, so make sure to keep your network and computers backed up regularly.
2. Establish Processes and Assign Roles
It is necessary to determine how your business will continue operating if major equipment, people, or technology are not available anymore. Defining the how, what, when, and where for getting everything up and running again is crucial. Your employees will not only need to know what to do but also who is designated to complete each task. Assigning roles will help make the BCP as effective as possible.
3. Make a Communication Plan
Employees should know and learn about the business continuity plan in advance, so they can be prepared for the responsibilities and tasks it entails. Go through and discuss the plan with your staff by having periodic meetings. This ensures that everyone understands and knows what is expected of them.
In case of power outages, it is also a good idea to find alternative ways of communicating with your employees, for example, through a group chat, email, social media, or you could even come up with a predetermined meeting place.
Instead of thinking that a disaster or disruption is unlikely to ever happen to you, it is better to develop a good and effective business continuity plan, so that you are prepared to deal with any unexpected events and ensured that your company will be able to recover and continue operating no matter what.