Like it or not, disasters happen every day to business both large and small.
From natural disasters like fires and floods to technological disasters like data breaches, there are a lot of potential issues that could have a serious effect on your business’s ability to run and profit.
Do you have a continuity plan in place to protect your business? If not, now is the time to get one.
If you’re not sure what a business continuity plan is or why it’s needed, keep reading.
Explained below are some important points about these kinds of plans and tips on how you can create one for yourself.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
Many business owners are going without any kind of business continuity plan because they don’t know what it is. Here are some basics that you ought to know if you’ve never heard of this type of plan before:
- A business continuity plan is a system designed to help a business prevent and recover from potential threats
- The plan protects personnel and the company’s assets
- It ensures everything can continue to function should a disaster occur
Every type of business can benefit from having a continuity plan in place. Even if you have insurance that can help to fill in the gaps should a disaster or a loss of revenue occur, a continuity plan will ensure your business can move forward and continue to profit.
Why is a Business Continuity Plan Important?
There are lots of reasons to make a business continuity plan a priority for your company. The following are seven of the greatest benefits that this plan has to offer:
1. Save Lives
Having a business continuity plan in place ensures that all of your employees know what to do should a disaster occur.
If you want your employees to stay safe during a disaster like a fire or a tornado, you need to make sure they know what to do when these events arise.
2. Build Confidence
If your customers know that you have a continuity plan for your business, they’re going to feel more comfortable and confident about working with you long-term.
They’ll trust that you run your business well and will stick around to help them regardless of what happens to other companies in your industry.
3. Comply with Industry Standards
Most industries have their own basic set of preparedness standards that all companies ought to be striving to meet.
Even if there’s no formal set of standards in place, there is still likely an expectation of what your business should be doing to protect employees and customers.
4. Preserve Reputation
Maintaining a well-thought-out continuity plan for your business will help to preserve your reputation and brand value, too.
People will look more favorably on your company (whether they shop with you or not) if they know you’re prepared for the worst.
5. Minimize Financial Risk
Every business owner (at least, every smart business owner) is always looking for ways to protect themselves from significant financial losses.
One of the best ways to do this is to make sure your company is protected and can continue running even when disaster strikes.
6. Protect Your Supply Chain
A continuity plan protects your supply chain as well. With the right plan, you can make sure that all the links in the chain remain intact and continue to deliver goods to you and to your customers.
7. Gain a Competitive Edge
A business that has a solid continuity plan will have an edge over every business that does not.
If you want to remain competitive and stand out from other businesses in your industry, you need to make sure you’re prepared for the worst and can weather any storm that comes your way.
How to Create a Business Continuity Plan
Okay, you’re convinced that a business continuity plan is important to your company’s ability to survive and thrive. How do you create such a plan, though?
Here are some tips to help you start creating a comprehensive continuity plan for your business:
Establish a Team
You can’t create a good continuity plan by yourself. Gather a team of people from your company and work with them to create the best plan possible.
Identify Essential Services
The first task you and your team should accomplish is to identify your business’s essential services. What absolutely must continue to happen to keep the company moving forward?
Identify Required Skill Sets
Think next about the skill sets that are most important if you want to continue to provide those essential services. Which employees will play the most crucial role in keeping the company up and running?
Identify Potential Problems
Make a list of potential problems your business could encounter. What kinds of disasters are most likely to affect your day-to-day operations? What can you do to prevent them or handle them in the most effective way?
Create Separate Plans
A good continuity plan will consist of several sub-plans. Make a separate plan for each potential problem and each essential service. Keep these plans well organized so you can refer to them at a moment’s notice and find what you need.
Create a Checklist
Put together a checklist for each plan. That way, you’ll have a document that’s easy to reference when something goes awry.
Test and Update Each Plan
Be sure to run drills on a regular basis and test each of the plans you’ve created.
After each drill, take note of what worked, what didn’t, and what you could improve upon in the future. Compare different types of plans to see which approaches work best, too.
Get More Business Advice Today
Now that you know more about what a business continuity plan is and why it’s so important to the success fo your company, are you ready to start creating one?
If you don’t already have a continuity plan in place, keep the tips listed above in mind as you start working on one for yourself. They’ll help you fill in all the gaps and ensure your business continues to run regardless of what goes on around you.
Do you need more advice on running your business and making sure things go as smoothly as possible?
If so, head to our forum today. You’ll find all kinds of helpful discussion threads here on every business topic.