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Have you got a plan B?

From the Resene Trade blog

A business continuity plan (BCP) pinpoints the most important parts of your business, identifies potential risks to these critical pieces and prepares you to recover as quick and easy as possible. Contingency planning is a crucial part of continuity planning – it means having a backup if your original plan no longer works. It's your plan B.

Your BCP shouldn't be limited to what to do after a natural disaster. It should cover any risks or threats that could disrupt your most important business activities.

A continuity plan is different from emergency planning. Emergency plans cover in-the-moment procedures in a crisis, e.g. a natural disaster. BCP covers how you'll get core parts of your business up and running again.

Why you need to plan

Business owners aren't legally required to do business continuity planning (BCP) but there are many reasons to put time and energy into it. Many small businesses struggle to reopen after a disaster. Planning greatly improves the likelihood that your business will survive – so it should be on your must-do list.

Other reasons to do BCP:

Step-by-step guide to business continuity planning

This guide will get you thinking about how to protect the most important aspects of your business. As you go through each step, consider:

It's important to think of different options rather than absolutes.

Step 1. Identify key products or services

Step 2. Identify key internal people

Step 3. Identify key connections

These might be suppliers, service providers, clients or regular customers.

Step 4. Identify essential equipment and supplies

Step 5. Consider relocation options

Step 6. Consider insurance options

Step 7. Identify who can run the business in your absence

Step 8. Keep contact details handy

Step 9. Back up important data

Step 10. Put it into practice

Much like emergency plans, a business continuity plan shouldn’t sit on the shelf. It needs to be tried and tested with relevant staff at least once a year. This doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming.

Run 20-minute stress test exercises where you give staff a scenario to plan for. Rather than fixating on the cause of the disruption, e.g. a natural disaster or power cut, focus on how to manage the consequences.

No two crises are the same. But together, you may find similar solutions to different situations. Your plan will change as your business evolves, so make sure you debrief after each test and update the plan if necessary.

Staff need to know what to do even if you’re not available. Make sure your plan is easily accessible.

For a downloadable guide and template that walks you through important steps of BCP, see Wellington Emergency Management Office’s website Get Prepared.

Resilient Organisations has resources to help small businesses thrive, see website.

Information thanks to Business NZ, view the full article online.

September 2018

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