The Most Important Aspects of Creating a Business Continuity Plan

Your staff must be aware of all plans, knowledgeable about the process, company procedures and comfortable with their individual role during and after a business disruption or disaster.

All employees and contractors need to be included and given appropriate information that will raise awareness and increase your company’s readiness. At a minimum, they should know what to do and what not to do if a crisis were to occur. Each individual should prepare to have the necessary contact information and access to data necessary to continue operations.

A targeted training program should be developed for all individuals directly responsible for performing a leadership role during an event. This training should educate on protocols that are to be followed and clearly define expectations.

Business Continuity Training: First Things First

Disasters Can Strike Anywhere

Some locations may be more prone to disasters, but disasters can strike anytime and anywhere. A disaster is any event capable of disrupting your business. Disasters can range from an electrical outage to an earthquake.

Just Take The First Business Continuity Step

Many business owners never get started because they can’t imagine protecting their business against so many types of disruptions and disasters. The task of staying in business during and after a disaster is successfully done by focusing on your business, not the disaster. Focusing on your business means, protecting core processes; people; and IT systems.

The size of your business and number of employees does not change how you initiate business continuity training and planning. You must start by determining what is critical to your business and make a list of priorities.

Know What Is Critical To Your Business

Processes: Prioritize your business processes

  • Primary: The processes you cannot survive without.
  • Secondary: The processes you can survive one to three days without.
  • Support: The processes you can survive a week or more without.

Knowing the critical processes that are crucial to your business will now allow you to understand what people and IT resources should be protected.

Evaluating Risks and Safeguards to Your Business

Properly determining the events and environmental conditions that can adversely affect your organization with disruptions or disasters is a foundational step in the planning process. It is very important to know if you have enough expertise in-house or if you need to identify outside expertise in this area.

Due to the positive mindset of most business owners, you may not fully appreciate how likely disruptions or disasters will impact your business. The following considerations are important items to document and determine findings.

  • Step 1: Identify Risks to Your Business and determine the probability and impact if the event were to occur.
  • Step 2: Determine Exposure to Risks and develop risk reduction or mitigation strategies.

Document Findings and Share the Information with Your Team

With these documented results, a final determination can be made to decide if the risk levels are acceptable with the appropriate mitigation strategies. This can be presented to your management team, but the final decision should be made by the one person who has the responsibility and authority to accept risks to your business.

Shared Risk Between You and Your Suppliers

Current Case Study: A disaster can affect one of your suppliers that in return will negatively impact your business with a loss of revenue and customers. The tsunami and earthquake that affected Japan has severely limited the sale of new boats that relied heavily on Japanese made motors. Many boat dealers are also losing revenue because they can’t sell new replacement motors either.

The loss of revenue may have been preventable if planning and agreements are made with other suppliers ahead of a disaster. Prior planning would identify your disruption threshold, and what steps should be taken if that threshold is met.

Lessons to Prepare by:

  1. Know your suppliers and major distributors
  2. Line up a second source.
  3. Know Your Communication Strategy.