No matter how small a company is, it should never underestimate the value of creating a business continuity plan. This document can be its least expensive insurance as the only costs for it to be produced are time and effort of the maker. In times of trouble, this plan will help to restore business mobility and maintain operations working like normal. In this article, we will talk discuss five of the most essential parts of an effective business continuity plan.
1. Names of Backup Personnel
The first thing is to identify which personnel can be used as fillers when others cannot make it to work. You should have backups and not depend on only one person to take charge of a task. If you don’t have backups by now, start by assigning buddies. Form groups and allot time for them to coach each other so that every position can be filled and business operations can continue regardless of incidents. However, this may not be useful and helpful for everyone. Thus pick those functions that are most critical. Example is technical support for your backend procedures. List down the names, address, contact numbers and other references of your key people for emergency situations. Then shall disaster strike, get the checklist and see who among them can respond for business mobility and continuity.
2. Document External Contacts
Alongside your critical staff, you would also need to get a hold of references and information of your suppliers and contractors. Be ready with the description of their services in your notes. This is to make sure that you contact the right people when you need help. Other people that should be part of this external contacts list are: lawyers, banking staff, fire station and police station and others who can aid you with a lot of issues at work.
3. Get Your Critical Equipment Ready
Just like preparing for battle, you must always have everything packed in your bag to move and attack. Similarly in times of crisis in the business, your critical equipment such as the printers, servers, processing units, computers and others where confidential and key data are located must be ready for relocation. It’s better if you have another site to move your business equipment to. Moreover, don’t forget to back up all your data and as much as possible, keep a soft copy of your important documents like business licenses, contracts, purchase orders, invoices, etc.
4. Know Where to Relocate
There are two options. It’s either you ask your employees if they are willing to telecommute or complete their tasks at their homes or provide a contingency location. This venue can be anything convenient for everyone to move in. You can rent out an empty apartment, hotel or any room that you can fill with business facilities and equipment. Keep the address and communicate it to your workforce so they would know where to head to when calamities occur.
5. Publish a How-to Guide
This is just a matter of compiling all information from steps 1 to 4. This how-to document should consist of specific instructions on roles and responsibilities plus the actions of people assigned. If possible, it would be nice if you can conduct training and test employees during drill session. Pretend there’s a fire in the building and everyone is told to escape quickly. In that case, employees should already be armed with experience and the right information. When something is wrong, review the file and revise accordingly.
Business continuity is an essential part of every business. Especially, nowadays that it’s really hard to predict what will happen in the next days. There have been earthquakes, storms and other natural disasters and terrorist attacks that were not really predicted by authorities. A business continuity plan can assist you and your key personnel to resume tasks and never leave customers and suppliers dissatisfied.