No person or business can completely prepare for an emergency. However, companies that are effectively responsible for the lives of their employees who use their facilities need to have a plan.
If there is an emergency, how well prepared is your company to deal with the situation? If your firm is affected by a crisis, you must know what to do. Being as prepared as possible for any problem is undeniable today. Mundane days can turn into nightmares in a split second. So, while you can’t predict the future, you can help mitigate the damage with a business continuity plan.
A business continuity plan will save lives and help de-escalate the problem.
According to the Small Business Administration
, twenty percent of small firms fail during their first year of activity, and about half of all startups collapse within the first five years. These losses could be caused by various factors, extending from cash flow troubles to issues with management. To avoid these disasters and bounce back and recuperate, it is essential to have a business continuity plan. With everything said, the next question would be what a business continuity plan is. Below is a brief discussion.
Business Continuity Plan
When it comes to crisis or contingency planning, business continuity plans
or BCPs are important. These are a framework of specified processes and tactics that describe how a company must react to a certain detrimental situation.
Consider it a compilation of preparedness measures that will inform everyone precisely what to do if and when the worst-case scenario occurs. An effective business continuity plan should cover every facet of a firm, from the technology departments to what happens with the human resources and important resources.
Any business continuity plan aims to keep an optimum supply of essential assets, allowing for ongoing operation and catastrophe recovery following an urgent situation. Moreover, BCPs are imperative as failing to plan can result in severe financial consequences. A robust business continuity plan helps to reduce these expenses by limiting the impact of disruptions on the enterprise.
A business continuity plan must also include a set of standards and guidelines that explain how and how one should behave and respond in any of the following circumstances.
- Natural catastrophes
- Man-made disasters
- Failures of equipment
- Problems with finances or cash flow
What Does a Business Continuity Plan Do?
Essentially, a business continuity plan protects and strengthens the business. Business leadership entails more than just the capacity to form and motivate groups of people. You must also concentrate on securing the company so that its personnel can perform the tasks required of them to execute in any circumstances. That scenario is what a BCP enables you to do.
A strong business continuity plan outlines every practice you must follow in times of emergency. By putting a crisis management plan together, the company can maintain relative composure in an emergency.
How Do You Build a Business Continuity Plan?
After grasping the need to build a business continuity plan, it is time to put one together specifically tailored for the business. Use the following steps to guarantee that the BCP is the most complete, practical, and attainable.
Step #1: Conduct In-depth Risk Evaluations
Begin by generating a list of every potential risk the firm may encounter. This list must contain concerns connected to all of the key areas:
- Geographical Region
- Patterns, Updates, and Changes in Market Conditions
- Business Facilities
After finalizing your list, go through it one by one to determine which risks are most likely to influence the company’s operations. Companies located in disaster-prone areas, such as earthquake or hurricane zones, may prioritize this hazard more than they would on issues affecting their stakeholders. When developing the business continuity plan, the prioritized list will inform the owners and the staff on which concerns to prioritize first.
Step #2: Essential Functions with Specific Plans
After clearly assessing the risks, it is time to consider the possible repercussions of those risks taking shape for the company. List the necessary functions, and then create disaster recovery plans for each. Examine the potential consequences of each possible risk on each function.
When organizations identify a function that could be adversely affected by one of the risks, one should develop a recovery plan for that unit as soon as possible. All strategies you may include in this plan are creating backups of critical data, allowing staff to work from home, and keeping a secondary site or backup capital stock. It is necessary to repeat this technique for each key function, defining the degree of risk it poses and the safeguards to ensure that you can quickly restore the process in case of a crisis.
Step #3: Make Emergency Roles Clear
It is crucial to have well-trained staff in an emergency to have well-developed recovery procedures. It is often the quick action of staff that executes the plan well into action. This step gives serious thought to assigning responsibilities to important staff members in each potential situation. Develop an understanding of who will serve as an emergency manager and how they need to perform in this role.
Under certain scenarios, planning for catastrophes may necessitate the training of employees or the acquisition of specific permits. The strategy may also include standards for personnel reorganization, which is especially important if the company operates from multiple locations.
The most important element to emphasize here is that the employees must be aware of what they must do in an emergency crisis within the business.
Step #4: Document the Plan
No business continuity plan can be successful if it is only in the leader’s mind. One of the problems that have gotten highlighted could be the leader’s death from an accident or another event. As a result, one must record the BCP for others to refer to and execute if the situation arises. If there is an emergency, store the BCP in a safe off-site place, decreasing the likelihood of the plan becoming lost or destroyed.
Step #5: Assess the Business Continuity Plan Regularly
No condition is permanent, and new difficulties may arise requiring a business continuity plan review. Hence, the business should have a continuity plan that always aligns with the current risks and capabilities of the organization.
It is worthwhile to establish an emergency management team that will review the BCP regularly.
When a substantial change occurs in the market, such as implementing new rules, companies should also consistently check their business continuity plan. Regular tests should get carried out to uncover any flaws in the plan.
Protect Your Business with a Business Continuity Plan
You need to stay alert and prepared to recuperate and bounce back in every situation. This attention to detail is also very true in the business world, no matter how big or small. Building a business continuity plan or BCP is not an easy task, particularly for starting, or small organizations with little resources, as it could save assets when rainy days come. It is essential to build and tailor a business continuity plan to minimize risks, be prepared in every aspect, and address and perform specific functions during and after emergencies.
At OxygenIT, our staff is available for a 15-minute consultation appointment if you would like assistance in developing your business continuity plan. We can also help address other potential methods of improving your business leadership and management.