A solid business continuity plan will ensure that your business not only survives any type of emergency, but thrives in the face of unforeseen challenges. However, simply putting a plan together isn’t sufficient for success. You must be proactive before an adverse event occurs, rather than reactive when the event is happening.
1. Create a Communication Plan.
The first step in creating a successful business continuity plan is to have a communication plan in place that is inclusive and detailed. Every person involved in your business, even if you don’t consider them essential personnel, must be included in your communication plan. The more people you have involved in the event of an emergency or disaster, the better. More people simply means more creativity for problem solving, which theoretically increases your chance of success.
If disaster struck today:
- Would every single person within your company know how to contact others?
- Would each person know where your backup site is?
- Would every person know where essential documents are?
- Would your employees know how to continue business if other essential employees were not present?
If you answered no to any of these questions, make a change today and allow input from everyone.
2. Create a detailed “How To” guide for every person.
You must never assume anything when it comes to your business continuity plan. Something that may be obvious to you, may be confusing for others. Creating a detailed “How To” guide for every single person, from the cleaning crew to the vice president, that includes contact information, a backup site, instructions on proceeding with business as normal, the location of vital documents, where to procure essential equipment, and even local emergency contacts, is vital for a successful business continuity plan. Hold quick meetings that go over the “How To” guide and involve new employees as quickly as possible. Make sure everyone keeps their guide in an accessible location at work as well as at home.
3. Back up everything and then back it up again.
Consider everything that allows your business to run smoothly. Brainstorm. Leave nothing out. Consider the smallest details from deliveries and bank deposits, to communication with clients, and keeping track of vacation time earned. Ask yourself how you would deal with all of these things if your business site were destroyed. You must have everything backed up and in more than one location. After you back up all of your information, back it up again. It’s also a great idea to have this information written down in case of a power outage.
If you don’t currently have a business continuity plan in place or your plan isn’t up to par, start making a change today. Create a goal setting chart that addresses each vital issue and stick to the time-frame you set for yourself and your business. Start brainstorming right now.