5 Steps to a Business Continuity Plan
Disasters don’t often give us an advanced notice of arrival. Even in cases where we do have some lead time, moving quickly enough to ensure business continuity can be anywhere from tough to impossible. In today’s age (where just about all business practices are tied to essential software and technologies), if the power so much as goes out, whole businesses screech to a halt.
Business practices—and, later, whole businesses—can be undone by utility outages, natural disasters, cybersecurity compromises, and even pandemics. This is where a business continuity plan comes in.
To give your business the best shot at rowing together through each storm, dive into the five steps to create your own business continuity plan.
First: What Is a Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan is the official outline of how your business will continue to operate during unplanned disruptions or disasters. It contains information about processes as well as assets and human resources, plus any other aspect of the business that could be affected.
Some of the best business continuity plans use checklists of supplies and processes. They also identify plan administrators and contact information for key personnel and backup sites.
Steps to Create a Business Continuity Plan
We break down business continuity planning into five steps:
1. Outline the scope

A business continuity plan is like a disaster recovery plan with operations stacked on top of it. If you already have a disaster recovery plan, use that as the base for your business continuity planning and add the following areas of scope.

2. Identify key business areas

Identify the key business areas—client facing and internal operations—that have to keep running to keep your organization’s head above water in the case of a major disruption.

3. Plan for critical functions

Now answer the question: how will you deliver on those key business areas? Critical functions are outlined in your plan, spelling out how each will be managed without your regular business processes in place.

4. Determine acceptable downtime

Business continuity plans help stopper gushing losses at the onset of a disaster, but they should do more than that. They also need to identify how much downtime for each critical function is sustainable, and then establish priorities if your organization is forced to pick and choose.

5. Get staff feedback and buy-in

Few will see opportunities to keep your operations running as clearly as the staff responsible for critical functions, so share your plan early and get feedback. This will also create greater buy-in for the solutions the plan spells out.
Every business continuity plan must be supported by the whole staff. For complete buy-in, regular review and testing is recommended.
Have questions about your own business continuity plan? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!