All businesses today, regardless of their size or location need to have a viable business continuity plan so they are able to face and deal with any challenge that comes along. There are many potential risk factors involved in business from natural disasters and accidents to human error and dishonesty, theft and vandalism as well as internet malfunctions and cyber crime. Many of these may cause a major setback or total ruination if a business doesn’t have a well thought and actionable business continuity plan.
The difference between being down for a few hours, a couple of days, weeks or months can often come down to how well you have planned and your business continuity strategy.
The following are some reasons for the importance of a business continuity plan:
A Complete Inventory
One of the first thing you need to do when developing your business continuity plan is to make a map of all your assets and resources so you can understand the ways they may be compromised or disrupted.
- You need a comprehensive plan of your whole operation, including all the people who work for you, contractors and employees. All the equipment you use and properties you own or utilize.
- Your computer network and contacts
- A full list of all your stock on hand and any out on jobs or ordered and not yet received, etcetera. This is essential so you have a realistic idea of where you are right now and your strengths as well as weaknesses allowing you to plan an effective continuity plan.
Analyze any threats
Now you have a list of all your assets and essential elements that make up your operation. You need to find all the risk factors you could face, from half you key workforce being sick with the flu or being poached by your competitors’. Consider natural disasters such as fire, flooding earthquakes, political anarchy, cyber attacks or malware effectively compromising your IT.
What would do if a major contract you were working on went broke and could not pay you?
You have a major data breach or are facing legal action, a major change in the law affecting your working conditions.
There is a whole range of people who are qualified and equipped to help you calculate, plan for risks and develop a continuity plan. These include accountants, insurers, business coaches, and technical support providers/
Some risks are very unlikely, while others are almost guaranteed to happen at some stage, but having a workable business, you are likely to be one of the few survivors in the event that the unthinkable happens.
Plan for the worst and be ready, but hoping for the best is a policy that will ensure if things go wrong, you will have a contingency plan to make sure that you are able to cope with and eventually recover from setbacks and things beyond your control, even in the worst scenario.
At the very least, making a business continuity plan will help you see areas of your business operation where you can make improvements to reduce the likely hood of unforeseen circumstances that could compromise or harm your business. It’s a chance to streamline existing business operations and place any necessary safeguards to protect your future business interests.