Unpredictable events happen regularly. From natural disasters to wilful and accidental damage, potential business crises can significantly disrupt your operations. This is especially true if you don't prepare to deal with emergencies.
This is where business continuity planning comes into play. As part of your recovery strategy, it allows you to prepare in advance the processes and procedures to help you cope with the unexpected. Planning can also help you realise many other important benefits.
Key benefits of business continuity planning
Business continuity planning can help you:
- keep your business trading during and after an incident
- recover operations more quickly after interruptions
- reduce costs and duration of any disruption
- mitigate risks and financial exposure
- build customer confidence and trust
- safeguard company reputation
- develop confidence within the business
- comply with regulatory or legal requirements
- insure against otherwise unacceptable risks
- save lives, if dangerous events (such as fire) occur
If you don't have a business continuity plan in place, start by carrying out a business impact analysis. This assessment will help you to understand your business - including assets, people and processes that are critical to run it - and the likelihood and potential impact of potential business crises.
Why have a business continuity plan?
A carefully thought-out business continuity plan will make coping in a crisis easier. It will also enable you to minimise disruption to your business and customers, often at the expense of competitors. It is a way of proving to customers, insurers and investors that your business is robust enough to cope with anything that might occur.
See how to create a business continuity plan.
Importance of business continuity planning
Failure to plan could be disastrous for any business. At best, you risk losing customers while you're getting your business back on its feet. At worst, your business may never recover and may ultimately cease trading.
A clear, comprehensive business continuity plan will give you the best chances of overcoming a business disaster. Once you create a plan, remember to test it rigorously - you will want to make sure that it fulfils its purpose. Find out how to test your business continuity plan.
See also how to minimise the potential impact of crises.