How to prepare a business continuity plan

08 June 2017

A business continuity plan is a strategy that forecasts commercial or financial business risks, and puts measures in place that’ll help your business to continue running during or after an unexpected event, emergency or crisis.

The following steps will help you put a business continuity plan together.

1. Think about what unexpected events, emergencies or crises could occur. Consider things like an outbreak of disease or infection; on-site or off-site fire or explosion; theft or vandalism; spillages or leaks; or terrorist threats.

2. Consider which activities are most important for your business to continue operating. Depending on your industry, it might be things like call centres, manufacturing, wages or distribution.

3. Can you prevent or minimise a crisis occurring? Our experts have come up with some suggestions:

  • Keep up to date with live alerts on national and local issues
  • Make sure you’ve got adequate insurance cover
  • Always follow the advice given on National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO)
  • Follow data protection guidance
  • Back-up your computers and key documents
  • Run weekly security checks
  • Know your premises and make sure it’s well maintained and safe for people to work in

We’ve plenty more, too.

4. Put arrangements in place for if an emergency actually occurs. Suitable provisions will vary from business-to-business, but here are a few suggestions: find alternative workplace facilities and transport; source back-up equipment; let employees work flexibly; and put together a list of emergency contact details.

5. Communication is key during a crisis. Make sure you address any concerns by considering questions like: what’s expected of employees ‘today’? Should employees turn up to work tomorrow? Will there still be a job for them if the building’s destroyed?

6. Keep a written log of the decisions you make and the actions you take – remember to date stamp each entry.

7. Once the crisis is over, review your business continuity plan and, where necessary, make amendments.

Testing and understanding

Once you’ve put your business continuity plan together, make sure you:

1) Put it to the test by acting out a scenario – if possible and practicable

2) Run through it with all employees and make sure they’re aware of their role.

For further guidance on your business’ continuity plan, just give us a call.

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