Are you aware of all disasters that could affect your business? Do you have a strategy to survive those setbacks? In this article, we will examine the potential problems that can make or break the business and show you how to prepare your company for every possible scenario.
A business continuity (BC) plan is a necessary tool made for the purpose of continuing the successful operation of a business after a disastrous event occurs.
The events that generally cause a major business disruption are:
- cyber attacks
- death of an owner
The business continuity plan is here to guarantee that the organization remains in business and profitable after a crisis.
Inc. published a finding by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) claiming that fire is the most likely hazard a business will face.
Depending on the area a business is located in, risks will differ.
Step 1. Assess Potential Threats And How Each Business Function Would Be Affected
This first step is extremely important, relying heavily on understanding every business function. All potential events must be analyzed.
What would happen if your computers all went down or were destroyed in a fire?
These are the kinds of questions that must be asked and answered with as much information as possible.
Answering questions what would happen questions – like if your technology blows up or you lose a key team member will force you to prepare for those situations.
Small businesses are particularly vulnerable if an owner passes away.
Call in experts to help your company detect possible shortfalls in your business readiness to address potential crises.
Since fires represent the most likely catastrophic event for all businesses, it might make sense to call in an expert to inspect your business and provide some pointers on ways to minimize the risk.
Step 2. Discover The Critical Business Functions
There are critical business functions that are key to delivering the products or services your business sells.
Determining which functions are primary to continuing business in a crisis is crucial for cutting business losses.
Which personnel is essential to delivering products and services to customers?
When you think about that, you will know which team members and duties are crucial for staying in business.
In addition to critical human resources necessary to continue business in the aftermath of a disaster, technological resources must also be assessed.
Cyber attacks are not uncommon these days. Whether bad weather or cyber enemies are to blame, when systems go down, it can devastate the ability to operate a business.
Evaluating the technology that will completely bring your business to a halt is essential to finding solutions that will enable smooth business operations.
Step 3. Make A Contingency Plan For Critical Business Functions
Once you have identified the key functions, equipment, and people necessary to operate your business at a level that will keep the doors open, it is time to write out contingency plans and procedures that address each factor.
For example, if the computers go down and customers can no longer order from your company, then how will you fix this problem.
What kind of procedure can you use to bypass this problem and allow customers to contact the company to order products or services?
Key personnel must train others so that if they become ill, disabled or pass away, there is another person who can manage the critical functions necessary to do business.
It is highly recommended that managers cross-train to prevent managerial problems in terms of important business relationships, financial functions and other high-level responsibilities that could cause a business to come to a screeching halt.
Having key contact information on cell phones or other mobile devices is recommended. Redundancy is not always a bad idea.
Step 4. Test Your Plan And Make Necessary Adjustments
It is important to test your plan. Never wait until you have an emergency to test your business continuity plan. If you do, you will likely be very sorry. Having a trial run immediately to work out the kinks is highly recommended.
Much like regular fire drills on a cruise ship, it is a good idea to test your continuity plan at least every year.
Personnel changes and equipment modifications and purchases will change the plan.
That’s why it is important to always update your plan so that it is current and will work at any point in time.
Step 5. Know How To Rebuild And Bring Your Business Back To Pre-crisis Health
Knowing in advance how you will rebuild in the case of certain emergencies will speed up the process.
Thinking about the important steps necessary to return your business to operating efficiency ahead of time, will eliminate a lot of the stress for your employees and customers.
Having emergency funds allocated for a crisis will also provide the confidence you need during difficult times.
Preparing for the worst possible scenarios means your company has a fighting chance to recover.
Waiting until disaster strikes is poor planning and drastically reduces a business organization’s chance of returning to profitability.