Have you ever thought about what would happen to your business if a natural disaster struck? Or if there was a power outage that lasted for days?
Disasters (both man-made and natural) can strike at any time, often without warning. That’s why it’s so important for businesses to have a continuity plan in place. A continuity plan is a document that outlines how a business will continue to operate during an interruption in normal operations.
Creating a continuity plan can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are seven tips to help you get started:
1. Define what “disruption” means for your business.
The first step in creating a continuity plan is to define what disruptions could potentially affect your business. This will help you determine what needs to be included in the plan. For example, if you’re a retail business, a power outage would be considered a disruption. But if you’re an online business, a power outage wouldn’t necessarily be a problem unless it prevented you from accessing your website or database.
2. Identify your critical functions.
Once you’ve defined what disruptions could affect your business, you need to identify which functions are critical to continuity. For example, if you’re a manufacturing company, production might be a critical function. Or if you’re a service-based business, customer service might be critical.
3. Develop strategies for maintaining continuity.
Once you’ve identified your critical functions, you need to develop strategies for maintaining continuity. This might involve things like having backup power generators or alternative work locations.
4. Create an incident response plan.
An incident response plan outlines how you will respond to disruptions when they occur. It should include things like who will be responsible for what and how you will communicate with employees and customers. For example, if you experience a power outage, the incident response plan might include instructions for employees to work from home.
5. Test your continuity plan.
It’s important to test your continuity plan to make sure it actually works. This might involve doing things like simulating a power outage or running a drill for a fire evacuation.
6. Review and update your continuity plan regularly.
Your continuity plan should not be a static document—it should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. As your business changes and grows, so too should your continuity plan.
7. Train your employees.
Last but not least, you need to train your employees on the continuity plan. They should know what to do in the event of a disruption, and they should be familiar with the incident response plan. For example, you might want to hold a monthly meeting to review the plan or include it in new employee orientation.
Creating a continuity plan may seem like a lot of work, but it’s essential for keeping your business up and running in the event of a disruption. By following these seven tips, you can develop a continuity plan that will help keep your business going strong—no matter what comes your way.