Business Continuity Planning

Every business should have a business continuity plan in place just in case it faces interruption at any time. However, this is particularly important come the winter months when we experience more extreme weather conditions. Want to improve your business continuity plan ready for the winter, or need to get one in place? Here are some steps to help you get going.

Having a business continuity plan in place can be extremely beneficial in the event of bad weather. Should your business be negatively impacted you'll have a plan ready and waiting which could prove vital to the survival of your business.

A business continuity plan should be well thought through to ensure a crisis is managed effectively and doesn't leave the day to day running of your business in total disaster.

Once carefully considered, a plan should also be properly embedded so both you and your employees find it easier to minimise disruption to your business activity. Planning ahead for these situations will give you and your staff a clear action plan and help keep your productivity and motivation strong. In essence, it's always best to be prepared for the worst.

How to create a Business Continuity plan

  1. Analyse your business- Look at all your processes and procedures and identify which activities are critical to the every day running of your business. In an emergency you'll have to concentrate on tasks and activities that must continue to keep the business functioning. It's important to look at your business from every angle including the impact on staff as well as IT, communications, suppliers, partners and any environmental risks.

  2. Bad weather in business- long winter ahead

    Assess the risks- Consider how various risks could affect your business, always from the worst case scenario perspective. Then work out how to either remove the risk altogether, reduce the risk or accept the risk with a suitable solution for working around the issue. If you have any service level agreements, would you be able to maintain them? Where would you operate from if your business premises were impacted by bad weather?

  3. Develop a strategy- Once you have analysed and assessed all potential risks, you'll need to work out the scale of disruption that these risks could cause the critical activities of your business. What resources would you need to recover and maintain your business' activity? Who in the business is going to be responsible for implementing this strategy?

  4. Develop an action plan- You need to establish exactly what needs to be done and the procedures needed to launch your continuity plan. You should look at communication procedures - who needs to be contacted and by whom? Make sure that your plan includes key contacts, staff, suppliers and customers. Decide how long it will take for 'normal business' to resume. Write down a timetabled plan, so everyone is aware of what will be and when they should be expecting it to happen.

  5. Test your plan- Finalising your continuity plan is crucial. An untested plan can be just as bad for your business as no plan at all. It's essential to know that your plan works, is relevant, adequate and everyone understands the process. Remember to update your plan regularly, as you will need to account for changes in business operations and changing circumstances.

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