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Should you set up a business continuity plan?

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A business continuity plan is the kind of thing that you hope you will never have to put into action, but it is an absolutely essential part of making sure you are prepared for any eventuality. This kind of plan will detail how your business will keep running in the event of a major unexpected event like a natural disaster striking your office or your business suffering from a major systems failure. But simply having this plan in place will not be your final step, as you will need to be prepared to activate it at any time. As well as this, you will also make sure to keep it updated depending on the threats that face your business. Here is how you can go about writing your business continuity plan.

Work out what goes into a good plan

First of all, you need to accept that there are threats and risks that face businesses of all kind. And while you can prevent them as best you can, unfortunately they may strike regardless. Start by making a list of the potential risks that face your company. You can then sort them by how likely they are to happen and also how big an impact they would have on it. Remember, your plan is designed to keep your business running to its highest possible level. After you have listed out the potential risks, you can then start to determine what sort of impact that they would have on your business. They may result in lost income or sales. They may lead to a delay in the service you can provide and customer dissatisfaction. They may increase your business expenses.

Determine your key resources

You next need to identify which are your key resources – the parts of your business you will certainly need to keep going to maintain the running of your company. Make a list of all your key personnel and their contact information. Think about which job functions you absolutely need, and remember that this doesn’t just consist of the executives and high ranking managers. Many businesses now rely on technology, so make sure you have a system where you can still access your key files if you suddenly find that your office is out of commission. Though you might not be able to get hold of everything, you still want to be able to get hold of your most important documents easily. And you should also identify which members of staff are able to telecommute as remote working is much more of a possibility these days.

Create your plan

Now you have got to the stage where you can actually create your plan. Identify the equipment that you will need to keep your business going and work out where you can get it from if you are no longer able to access your own. Choose a backup location where you can continue your business operations. Make sure you have all the different insurance coverage you need to protect you from various situations. Double check that you have everything you need including property insurance, professional liability insurance and key man insurance as there is nothing worse than thinking you are covered only to find out that this is not the case. Divide responsibilities so you know who is in charge of implementing each stage of the business continuity plan. Finally, remember to document all the external contacts you need and put the information together into an actual physical plan!

Implement the plan

Once you have created the plan, it is time to speak to the different members of staff who are involved about what it means for them. Though you may brief your core team of staff in more detail, it is important that the rest of the team are at least made aware of what is going on. The most prepared businesses will continue to brief this plan to their team over and over again as they know just how important it could be one day. And always remember that no matter how good your plan is to start off with, it will always need updating at some point down the line. You never know what different threats you could face in the future as technology continues to affect businesses in all sectors. If a disaster does strike, it is important that you don’t let panic set in and you go back to the plan that you have worked so hard to devise in the first place.

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