Business Continuity Planning

How to create a business continuity plan

Whether your business is a high street shop or a city office it's important to plan for the unexpected - from extreme weather to a terrorist attack. Our guide to business continuity planning will lead your business towards hatching a plan to keep your business running during periods of interruption.

Analyse your business risks

To start your business continuity plan, ask yourself the following questions: 

    1. How likely is it to happen and what would the worse case scenario be?
    2. What effect will business interruption have on my business?

Look at all your processes and procedures and identify the critical activities of your business; whether your business interruption is caused by bad weather or something more serious, you'll have to concentrate on the tasks and activities that must be done to keep your business trading. Consider which business processes would be impacted. For example: 

    • What if we lost our internet connection for a week?
    • What if our documents were destroyed in a flood or fire?
    • What if staff were unable to physically come to the office for a month?

Next, take one of three steps for each process:

    1. Work out how to remove the risk
    2. Reduce the risk
    3. Accept the risk with a suitable workaround

Developing a disaster recovery plan

Once you have a good idea of the risks that need to be addressed, plan the procedures needed to initiate your business resilience strategy.

    • Consider resources: What resources would you need to recover and maintain your business's activity?
    • Allocate roles: Who is going to be responsible for implementing this strategy?
    • Communications procedures: Who needs to be contacted and by whom? This applies to both internal (employees) and external stakeholders (customers or partners). This may mean reviewing your online communications platforms. If you have social media profiles or a website, consider: 

      • If your customers need you for advice or to discuss an issue, are they able to get your contact details easily online?
      • And is your customer service inbox checked regularly?
      • Is your website fully working and does it work as well on mobile devices as it does on a desktop or laptop?
      • Is your online shop stocked and up-to-date?
    • Work out how long it should take for 'normal business' to resume. Write down a timetabled plan, so you will know precisely what to do and when.

Test your business continuity plan

This is key, as an untested plan may not work. At this stage, it's important that all internal stakeholders understand their role in the plan. Remember to update your plan regularly to account for changes in your business.

Understand your insurance policy

Calculating your business costs and adequately protecting for business interruption is key to making sure you don’t lose out should you cease trading for any reason. Overheads, payroll, leases, general running costs and all other outgoings your business has all need to be taken into account.

A standard business interruption policy is unlikely to cover all possibilities, so it's important to speak to an adviser and to read your policy documents carefully in order to understand what you are covered for. 

Business insurance from Towergate

Whether you’re a large business, SME or sole trader, work from home or have a property empire - Towergate have got an insurance policy for you. For more information, visit our dedicated business insurance page.