Short of peering into a crystal ball, you’re never going to really know when a disaster is going to strike. The best you can do is to always be prepared with a disaster and business continuity plan.
So, how can you be better prepared? By proactively allocating the proper financial and human resources to keep your business running when something goes wrong.
If you have infinite resources, with money and employees growing on trees, you can just be prepared for everything. For everyone else, it’s smarter to prioritize what is most important.
The first step is assessing roles and responsibilities. So, this might be a manager, employee, or committee. It is important for everyone to know the importance of their role, get buy-in, and make sure there is someone in charge with the authority to get things done.
Equipment, Processes, and Services
The next step is figuring out what your business needs to maintain in the event of an emergency. A service is usually essential if it:
- Creates a health and safety hazard if not performed or delivered.
- Not doing it can lead to the failure of a business or negatively impact it (now or long-term).
- Must be done to satisfy regulatory requirements.
It is also effective to group priorities into different categories:
- Priority 1: Must be continued.
- Priority 2: May be suspended for a short amount of time.
- Priority 3: May be suspended for an extended period of time.
You likely don’t need to be prepared for every single possibility under the sun, and more over, your business probably can’t afford it. For example, if your business is in a landlocked place with little to no rain, the resources spent on an extensive plan for flooding might be better suited somewhere else.
Take a good look at the different types of disasters that could affect your business and prioritize them based on their likelihood.
Avoid Tunnel Vision
As we already mentioned, preparing for everything just isn’t a reasonable objective. Planning for anything though, should be the goal.
Let us explain.
Your plan should be a guiding star. Something you and your team can reference to make smart decisions in the heat of the moment. Furthermore, most plans should be applicable to a variety of scenarios, with a few focused plans for disasters that are more likely to occur.
Try to minimize potential gaps and problems, but always be ready to plug those gaps.
Document the process to know what went right and what went wrong. Identifying potential hiccups before they happen is ideal, but the next best thing is making sure you fix them as soon as they’re discovered.
This also means scheduling an annual review of our business continuity plan. As a bonus, this will ensure everyone is up to date and knows exactly what needs to be done when something goes wrong.
Ask For Help
Finally, EMG is always here to help, but you can also reach out to your local business community. Many will have business continuity plan tips they’ll be happy to share with you.