Why should I plan for business disruptions?
Business owners invest a tremendous amount of time, money and resources to make their ventures successful, so it would seem natural for owners to take steps to protect those investments.
But life is full of unexpected events. around half of all businesses experiencing a disaster with no effective plans for recovery fail within the following 12 months.
While the importance of emergency planning may seem self-evident, the urgency of the task is often blunted by the immediate demands of the workplace, some managers may think – “it won’t happen to me”.
The more you prepare your business for potential emergencies, the easier and cheaper it will be for your business to recover when the time comes.
How should I plan for business disruptions?
Planning for big business or national organization emergencies can be a daunting task. It is often difficult to know where to begin.
You want to ensure that you cover the main risks and scenarios, but you also want to have contingencies in place for even the most remote possibilities. Your business continuity plan should provide a framework for your organization to respond to any crisis. It should help to reduce harm to staff and help your business survive disruption
Determining the Minimum Functional Requirements
The first step in business continuity planning is identifying your critical functions – those parts of your business that are most crucial in keeping your business going. This will help you prioritize which parts of your business to get up and running as soon as possible after a business disruption.
You may consider:
- what minimum resources you need to deliver critical functions (eg in terms of staff, utilities, suppliers, premises, data)
- the impacts of losing critical functions on your business (eg loss of revenue, loss of reputation, legal action)
- how quickly you need to get your critical functions up and running
- what dependencies exist between different functions
- what other organizations / suppliers you are dependent on
Critical operational functions are unique for each business or organization.
Critical functions aims to a level of Minimum acceptable operational level as appose to optimal level.
Defining the Emergencies and assessing your threats
Once you have identified your business’s critical functions, you need to consider what emergencies your business may face. Define the Emergencies for your business and analyze the situations that may trigger execution of an emergency strategy.
There are some threats you may want to specifically plan and prepare for, for example fire and flooding. However for others it may be easier to consider threat in terms of the impact on your business, rather than the precise cause. For example:
- temporary or permanent loss of premises (eg due to fire, flood, being inside a police cordon)
- loss of utilities or key services (eg due to utilities failure, terrorist attack, flooding or industrial action)
- loss of IT systems (eg due to electronic attack, utilities failure)
- loss of staff (eg due to pandemic flu, heavy snow preventing staff getting to work).
Considering the impact of these on your critical functions will help you identify what you need to plan for in your business continuity plan.
Prioritize the list of potential emergencies (assess the threat level). This prioritization process will help you to focus your plan.
Develop a plan
Based on the critical functions and the Prioritized list of potential emergencies you are able to develop an emergency plan.
Operational elements – There are a number of operational elements and considerations that will be incorporated to form a comprehensive plan:
- Vital processes
- Needs and requirements
- Operations command control and communication centers
- Transition to emergency mode
- Flow of information
- Situation response metrics
- Incorporation of the latest available technology
- Compliance with national and international laws, regulations and standards
The way to address these issues is by conducting a full review of all operations of the company / organization.
No matter what industry you are in, communication is an essential aspect of getting an emergency under control as quickly as possible. You will need to write a Crisis Communication Plan: Detail how your organization will communicate with employees, local authorities, suppliers, customers, the news media, and others during and after a disaster. Include information specific to the interests of customers, employees, company management, and others that may be affected by an interruption of your business.
Communication ensures that those in charge can lead people to the best possible conclusion during an emergency.
Test & Rehearse Maintain
The only way to ensure that your continuity plan will work is to test it with regular exercises and then to update the plans in light of your findings. Exercises is also the best way to improve reaction and ensure that people develop a second nature reaction to an emergency.
To insure reediness all infrastructure and technology elements need to undergo testing and maintenance. You need to develop a scheduled plan for equipment maintenance, systems update and back up.
Planning for emergency is a specialized professional field, one where businesses, organizations, and sometimes even governments are not equipped to handle on their own. The Tandu Company has ample experience planning and implementing dozens of custom-tailored security and safety plans aimed at ensuring the Continuity of the business in case of an emergency all over the world.
If you need to create or update your emergency plan and strategies, please contact us and get started.