As a leader, you want to do everything you can to ensure that your business has the best shot at success. One step toward accomplishing this goal is to create a business continuity plan, which lists instructions and specific procedures for a company to follow should a disaster strike. A business continuity plan helps an organization quickly regain their business functions after an incident, which could be anything from a fire to a cyberattack.
Creating a Business Continuity Plan
If you’re starting from scratch without a business continuity plan, your first step should be to analyze your business and decide which areas are the most vulnerable. Afterward, you can calculate how much your business would stand to lose if processes should stop for a day or a week. Once you determine key critical functions, you can calculate the limit of acceptable downtime.
Next, you should create a checklist of equipment, key contact information, the location of backup sites, and any other information that would be helpful to have in a single, convenient location in an emergency.
When you develop your plan, see if you can speak with anyone who has successfully guided their organization through a disaster. They may be able to offer you valuable advice regarding what did and did not work for their business.
Test Your Plan
Having a business continuity plan is great, but you will never truly know if it will work unless you actually test it. When you do a trial run, don’t just go with an easy scenario. Doing the bare minimum will not create a strong plan, but going above and beyond in creating a complex situation will. Testing your plan can take place at a table where the team examines it closely, or team members can perform a structured walk-through. Experts suggest implementing disaster simulation testing annually.
Review and Update Your Plan
Business continuity plans require significant time and effort. If you fail to review and update your plan regularly, all of that effort will go to waste! During any given period of time, your business will see changes such as staff turnover or updates to technology. Remaining flexible is highly important. Simply having a plan in place is not good enough. Your strategy needs to be tested and updated on a regular basis.