At some point, every business is going to face a threat to its survival. And that means that every business needs to have a plan in place to protect it from disaster. Nobody can predict exactly when disaster will strike. But hopefully, with a little bit of help, you’ll be far better prepared. Here are the main things you need to know about building a business continuity plan.
Choose Your Emergency Preparedness Team
Every business needs a select group of people with the knowledge and skills to prepare for emergencies. The preparedness team first need a strong understanding of their objectives. What are they trying to achieve with a business preparedness plan? Then they need to delve into the details and research the risks that the company faces. It’s only once the team understands the risks that the company faces that they can plan a response. Finally, the team needs to decide on a decision-making process. How are they going to respond to potential threats and protect the company?
Identify Key Processes
Your critical processes are those that lead to the failure of the business if not carried out. Work out of system for classifying your critical processes. Priority A processes might be those that are essential for the survival of the business. Priority B processes might be those that can be suspended for perhaps a month. Priority C are those that can be suspended indefinitely.
Identify Potential Issues
Once you know which services you need and those you don’t, you can start to organise a plan of action. You might, for instance, suspect that certain machines in your factory are prone to damage or will require regular hose disposal. These risks need to be clearly identified in your plan.
Then you need to have a clear plan of action for each issue. This should be a step-by-step guide for how to deal with the problem. And it should include plenty of detailed information. You’ll want to have a full description of the problem product or service. You’ll need to collect the name and contact details of the people who can help to deal with the problem. You’ll also want to collect alternative contact details just in case they aren’t reachable. And you’ll want to make sure that you get 24-hour service, just in case you suffer a breakdown at an inconvenient time.
Finally, each person’s role in implementing the plan of action should be explicitly stated.
Review Your Plan With Your Emergency Preparedness Team
Many brains are better than one brain. That’s why it’s so important that businesses have their plans reviewed by people in different parts of the firm. Reviewers will be able to identify gaps, failings or mistakes in the plan and offer further advice. The plan should be consistent across all business units and departments. And it should address the most likely areas of failure in your company.
Finally, it’s worth coming back to the continuity plan every six months or so for further reviews. A lot can change in business quickly. And so it may transpire that your business needs a new plan to cover new contingencies.