Disasters can strike anytime. You need a way to cushion your fall when it hits you. Learn how to create a startup business continuity plan so you come prepared for any situation.
In a volatile industry, disasters are inevitable. Businesses, small and large alike, are susceptible to some level of risk. A lot of devastating circumstances come unannounced. Whether it’s natural calamities like earthquakes and floods or a global pandemic, they are all unpredictable. No amount of preparation can completely protect you when unforeseen matters strike. The real question is, how fast can you recover when they do?
A company’s integrity is often built on how well it handles difficult times. As a startup owner, you have a lot of things to take in. When difficulties arise, you’ll have to think fast on your feet in securing your business.
You need a tested, up-to-date plan that’s ready to execute during and after a disaster. This is when a startup business continuity plan comes in handy.
In this entry, we’ll discuss what a business continuity plan is and why it is crucial to your business’ survival.
What is a business continuity plan?
Think of a business continuity plan (BCP) as your emergency tool; you pull it out once the alarm goes off. The same way you would salvage all the remaining items from a fire, a business continuity plan does the same.
It provides a list of procedures to streamline business continuity. Instead of recklessly dealing with each disruption, you’ll have a list of procedures to follow that will take care of your business processes, assets, and more.
A business continuity plan may not prevent disasters, but it can prevent extensive damage from them. This ensures that personnel and other assets are still able to function safely and quickly when things get shaky. The BCP has to be planned out with inputs from everyone in the company and major stakeholders.
Some of the things included in the BC Plan:
1. Work location – where the operations can continue
2. Alternate operations – how to continue with deliverables
3. Revenue – how to keep earning
Who needs business continuity planning?
A lot of companies often overlook the importance of a BCP with the assumption that they can confidently keep things running. But on the contrary, businesses often fail because of the lack of foresight and disaster preparation.
All companies are in need of a BC plan, regardless of the size and nature of their work. A comprehensive BC plan is essential for all departments so they can still work appropriately despite disruptive events.
Outlining a Business Continuity Plan
To create your company’s business continuity plan, you make a business impact analysis. List down the names of all your departments and their function, then evaluate which one is the most vulnerable during a crisis.
Along with identifying the departments at high risk, you should also estimate their potential financial loss. Assume that one of those vulnerable departments won’t be able to operate for a couple of days. Round up the possible damage it would cost you. By taking a look at your company as a whole, you can pinpoint which areas to prioritize in your plan.
Your BCP guidelines should be reliable and specific, yet loose enough so you can adapt to any type of disruption. Once you’ve composed the initial steps to follow, you can further develop into a comprehensive plan.
Additionally, also consider your information dissemination. How will your staff be able to access this handbook? The safest option is to send in both digital and hard copies to key members. Your employees need to access the handbook when computer systems shut down.
The business continuity plan outline
Now that we’ve established where to kick off in creating a BCP, it’s time to start drafting the actual content of your handbook.
Here are some tips in creating your BCP:
1. Assess the risks
In your BCP, describe the possible risks that come during emergencies. You can list down specific scenarios that can directly affect your work such as natural calamities or security attacks. Don’t hesitate to go into details about what’s at risk with your company.
Discuss how these situations can play out. How can a flood disrupt your day to day routine? What aspect of your resources will be heavily affected? What’s the worst thing that can happen to your business?
You can take the recent global pandemic as an example. The COVID-19 crisis has widely affected the economy. Companies are now asking questions like how they can cope with the situation and how they can continue to operate through a risky situation.
As you create your BCP, discuss it with administration and other business partners. Collect their inputs and advice on matters. These people have dealt with their own unique situation and can provide invaluable advice.
2. Set guidelines
The procedures and safety guidelines of your plan should also cover the inventory and location of all resources. Resources are critical devices, supplies, information storage, and data backups.
Create a contact list for all the key personnel involved to execute your continuity plan. Provide instructions for the resources they’ll need, such as where backup data and company-sensitive materials are stored. Lastly, provide a checklist of procedures they can follow in handling the situation. It may be a brief list, such as:
- Secure all documents and data backups
- Disseminate information to all employees
- Mobilize backup operations
3. Assign personnel
Assign the roles of your continuity team. They will be the first responders hence they should all have a specific role in the situation. Someone could be in charge of communication while the other is doing inventory.
You need to educate and train them in all aspects of the plan, so they can act accordingly when the real thing happens. Your continuity team serves as the liaison to coordinate with everyone in the company.
4. Test your BCP
Last but not the least, test your plan. Drills are necessary to ensure that all your proposed ideas work. You need to stretch your procedures and see if there are any hidden holes in them. A walk-through of your BC plan will also help your employees familiarize the procedures and guidelines.
The success of a business continuity plan
For a business continuity plan to succeed, everyone in the company should support it. All personnel from management down to each personnel must know about and must adhere to the plan.
Not only does a BCP secure your business’ chances of survival, but it also keeps everyone involved in it safe. The worst thing that could happen is losing everything you’ve worked for just because you were caught off guard.
Securing your Startup
Need help creating your BC plan? Full Scale specializes in preparing startups for the inevitable risks. Our services allow you to not only grow your core competencies but to secure them as well. You’ll need help laying out your plans in the long run. We can guide you through the process of building and managing your startup.
Contact us to learn more!