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How to Create a Business Continuity Plan for SMEs

Business continuity is the ability of an organisation to be able to continue to operate if an unlikely incident or event occurs. For any business owner or CEO, the ability to operate while experiencing an unlikely event is a priority.

The main aim of any organisation if something unplanned was to happen is to ensure the organisation can minimise service disruption, personnel disruption, and financial loss.

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) allows an organisation to react, how well they react is down to careful planning.

For business continuity timing and the ability to respond are the foundations for success.

What does a Business Continuity Plan consist of?

The analysis, recovery strategy, communication to the organisation, and subsequent training are the fundamental pillars of business continuity.

Here are some of the most important elements of a BCP.

First off, there needs to be a proper guideline.

While maintaining continuous operations – what are some additional plans needed to tackle the obstacles your business is facing at the moment?

You definitely don’t want to falter behind day-to-day operations, but there needs to be extra care taken to stay ahead of a crisis.

Next, think about the resources you need – these include software or other systems that need to be adopted.

Take the current pandemic, for instance. Working from home and its reliance on online collaboration. Video conferencing, task management are just a handful of the systems in place.

Cloud software such as those that track cash flow and monitor business performance is essential as well.

You can also create a checklist that includes crucial facts where anyone in your workforce can refer to.

These include emergency contact information, a list of resources the team may require, the location of backup data and other required information.

Tips to implement a Business Continuity Plan effectively

First, realize you cannot plan for every possible scenario, the list will keep on growing and will prove impossible to plan for.

Plan for possible and likely scenarios that could impact your operation for example loss of a major supplier or building damage.

When planning is clear on your objective don’t introduce unnecessary complexity, think clearly about the disruption, prevention, and response.

For each scenario identify the areas that are impacted and devise a workable and achievable contingency plan.

The plan must be realistic, robust, and possible to put into action quickly.

The aim of a BCP is your plan must be efficient and quick to execute.

Communicate the plan to everyone in your organisation.

Ensure your team are aware of the plan and they can have input. Be transparent on the plan and be open to changes based on feedback.

The most robust plans are ones that have benefitted from different perspectives and team input.

What most companies fail to remember is to plan to return to normal, the rebuild phase! The rebuilding phase is equally as important as the response phase. Rebuild is the return point any company strives to reach.

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