As a small business owner, you likely know how quickly an unexpected event can occur. Yet, a study revealed by Nationwide revealed that over 75 percent of the businesses surveyed had no continuity plan in place. And according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, nearly 25 percent of businesses that are forced to close their doors due to a major business disruption never reopen their operations.
Having a business continuity plan in place is critical to prepare for the unexpected and safeguard your business. In this post, we’ll outline the key elements that should be included in this type of plan:
1. Define a Business Continuity Team
One of the first thing your employees will want to know in the midst of a major business disruption is who’s in charge. By creating a business continuity team, you can have an answer to this question before a disaster strikes. The team that you put in place should plan and test throughout the year to ensure that the continuity plan up-to-date.
2. Develop a Business Continuity Plan
It’s important to prepare a plan in advance of a disturbance to prevent serious downtime. To do this, take some time to consider what your recovery priorities would be after a major business disturbance. Are you more concerned with regulatory implications, revenue, or re-establishing customer connections? Once you determine answers to these questions, the rest of your continuity plan will fall in place.
3. Test Your Plan
As with any type of plan, it’s important to test the elements that are in place on a regular basis. An outdated plan will lead to more confusion when the unexpected occurs.
By reviewing, testing and updating your continuity plan throughout the year, you can find any potential flaws and address them before they cause any real issues.
4. Establish Crisis Communications
It’s also critical to establish an effective way of communicating with employees during a disaster situation. You can create a toolkit that has many different communication channels such as email so that you can have several different ways to contact your team members during the unexpected.
5. Employee Safety is Key
Nothing is more important than keeping those around you safe. You can reach out to organizations like FEMA to provide yourself and your employees with emergency response training. It’s important to tailor training to both your business and your location.
6. Access to Business Resources
It’s important to ensure that your data is protected and accessible during an unexpected event. It’s a great idea to establish a remote computer network so you and your employees can work from home.
7. Continuous IT Operations
Establishing an offsite backups for your data can help you get through a tech outage with ease. You should also consider a backup Internet solution to prevent business disruptions during an event that causes Internet downtime. Through satellite Internet backup, critical business operations like credit card processing, data access and web services will continue to work.
Take some time to plan for the unexpected so your team is prepared and setup for success.