What is a Business Continuity plan and where do I get one from?

25 September 2023

Your business continuity plan (BCP) is a practical guide for you and your team designed to help your business survive and quickly recover from a disaster or potential threats to your business. The plan is to improve the resilience of your business against unexpected shocks.

A business continuity plan should help companies maintain essential functions amid or after emergency situations, protecting their reputation and minimizing financial losses. The plan ensures that personnel and assets are protected and can resume ‘normal’ business function quickly in the event of a disaster. Even if your business stops trading the bills will still be mounting, how long can you afford to be without income and still meet wages, rent, and tax bills?

Plan and Train for Success.

Like your monthly fire alarm drill the continuity team must be trained and tested. Members of the team should complete exercises that go over the plan and strategies. The BCP helps employers stay on top of disruptive incidents and empower your team to complete job tasks with confidence

Businesses cannot rely solely on insurance.

  • filling the forms in to make the claim can take more time than is available when struggling to do business
  • In a real disaster your business could have completely ceased trading before any insurance payout is received
  • The Insurance pay-out will not cover all your costs, or cover losing customers to the competition

Where do I get a BCP from?

The BCP needs to be prepared in advance and involves input from key stakeholders and personnel. Every business is made up of different customers, assets, and different skillsets in the team, so every BCP to be usable needs to fully reflect this diversity. The only one that could create an effective BCP is you – the business owner, manager, and management team.

Listed below are general steps in developing a business continuity plan for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs):

  • Identify potential risks —People, Processes, Assets, locations
  • Identify key products, services, or functions
  • Establish the business continuity plan objectives
  • Evaluate the potential impact of disruptions to the business and its workers
  • List actions to protect the business
  • Organize contact lists
  • Maintain, review, and continuously update the business continuity plan

Contact Lists should be readily available: (not just in your office)

  • Contact numbers – police, emergency services, firefighters, nearest hospitals, insurance company
  • List of workers, their positions and contact details (mobile phone and email address) as well as worker’s emergency contact details
  • List of clients, suppliers, contractors, and government agencies the owner worked with, including the contact person and details (mobile phone, email address, and street address)
  • Staff emergency call tree

Updates:

  • Review the business continuity plan every week to improve its effectiveness
  • Update risk assessments, strategies for business continuity, and other procedures

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