The majority of SMB (small-medium business) owners fall in this trap: they often don’t have a plan to deal with unexpected crisis because they aren’t expecting one.
And when the crisis hits, they were caught almost completely off-guard. This can cause a severe loss in revenue and productivity due to the resulting downtime.
As an SMB owner you need to be prepared for unexpected crisis, unless you want to risk losing customers to your competitors. Here’s why you need to have a business continuity plan (BCP) in place:
Business Continuity Plan Explained
A business continuity plan (BCP) is a set of predefined actions or protocols which dictate how a business is to response when hit by a crisis or unexpected emergency such as a natural disaster. It contains detailed contingency plans around each aspect of the business – such as assets, human resources and business processes – in order to help businesses react quickly and keep any potential losses to a minimum.
Factors that may pose a Threat to Business Continuity
There are a number of business continuity threats that may affect SMBs:
Equipment & utility failures – Unexpected power outages, compromised network, internet downtime or other interruptions in communications
Human disasters – Sabotage, cyberattacks, human negligence, etc.
Natural disasters – Natural phenomena like earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, storms, etc.
The key to building a robust BCP
If you’re still pondering over whether you need a BCP for your small business, now is as good a time as any to work on one. The four steps below will help you come up with a solid business continuity plan to ensure that all the cogs and gears of your company keep turning smoothly in the event of a crisis:
Conduct a BIA
A Business Impact Analysis helps you quickly understand how a disruption in your business due to a crisis might affect its day-to-day operations and processes – i.e. equipment, technology, personnel and infrastructure. This step is necessary as it helps you assess the potential operational and financial loss across each function and process.
This step will make it easy to identify the key resources required to return your business to its basic operational level when a crisis hits. For example, recovery options might include operating from an alternative location or allowing employees to work remotely, which can also help recoup losses.
Here, you need to put together a formal business continuity team to develop and implement the BCP.
Testing & training
Finally, when you have the BCP in place, your designated business continuity team will conduct regular tests to identify any gaps or shortcomings, and make the required changes to ensure that the plan is effective when it needs to be called upon.
In addition, they will conduct regular employee training so that everyone knows what to do when a crisis hits.
To conclude, as long as you have a robust BCP implemented, you can easily ensure that your small-medium business can quickly bounce back in the event of a crisis.