If you have a business, you need a business continuity plan.

A business continuity plan is different from a normal business plan, as it outlines a contingency plan that details how your business will survive if its ever exposed to significant disruption.

What is a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan is a recovery plan that outlines what your business will do in the worst possible circumstances. It’s a working document, so it needs to be regularly updated and amended. The role of this plan is to evaluate the potential risks that your business might face, and the specific impact that these events could potentially have. Its purpose is to protect your business, so that if the worst does happen, you’ll know what to do.

To complete your plan, you’ll need a comprehensive overview of how your business functions and the resources it depends on. Then, you’ll be equipped to identify the disasters that could seriously disrupt it.

Once complete, your business continuity plan will tell you what needs to be done in an emergency, as well as who should do it, and the resources that they’ll need. You’ll use the information gathered during the process of developing the plan to assess the potential losses your business could incur, too. Your business continuity plan might result in changes to the way your business operates, and may reveal ways in which you can take preventative action to protect your business from disaster and disruption. Due to this, it can be a very helpful document for business owners.

steven mather continuity plan

Although you’re planning for a hypothetical situation, you should still test the viability of your plan before it’s approved. In doing so, you will be able to explore potential gaps in the plan, or areas where amendments need to be made. The process of completing a business continuity plan should make you feel more confident about your company’s ability to withstand severe disruption.

How to create a business continuity plan

  • Understand your business – build a thorough overview of every element of your business.
  • Resources – which resources does your business depend on? These include stock, vehicles, and equipment, as well as digital assets.
  • Threats – things like natural disasters, fires, acts of terrorism, IT issues, and data breaches.
  • Impact –  take each threat you’ve identified and imagine how it would impact your operations.
  • Test – organise a pilot test to see how your plan would work in reality.

A business continuity plan and your business

A business continuity plan requires you to consider the impact that different threats could have on your business. This is known as a business impact analysis. The specific nature of your business will determine which threats are most serious for you. Rank the likelihood and potential severity of different scenarios to determine which ones should be the focus of your business continuity management.

Your business continuity plan should consist of easy-to-follow, simple instructions. Doing so means that your continuity team know exactly what to do, and when they should do it in the event of a disaster. Undertaking this detailed level of preparation gives your business a better chance of survival should an unexpected event occur. Imagining threats to your business isn’t pleasant, but by anticipating threats and forecasting their impact you can ensure that you’re ready to respond effectively should you be faced with an emergency.

Get in touch if you need some help preparing your business continuity plan, or other aspect of business legal advice.