What is Business Continuity Management?
Business Continuity Management is defined as ‘a holistic management process that identifies potential threats to an organisation and the impacts to business operations that those threats if realised, might cause; which provides a framework for building organisational resilience with the capability for an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities.’ Business Continuity Institute.
Why is Business Continuity Management important?
All Businesses can suffer from disruptions. Businesses may be affected by the loss of the following organisational resources...
- Staff (strike, pandemic);
- Premises (fire, flood, local evacuation);
- Technology (ICT);
- Information (paper, electronic);
- Supplies (power, fuel); and
- Stakeholders (partners, clients, customers)
Create a ‘type of disaster’ list
Consider what types of disaster would affect the areas vital to your business. For example...
- utility outages
- extreme weather
- loss of ICT
- loss of essential equipment/software
You might find it valuable to create a risk register for your business.
Surrey's Local Resilience Forum’s risk register is available to help you understand what a risk register requires.
Outline what is vital to keep your business running
As a small business, you may want to consider...
- the suppliers of the stock you sell
- the means to sell your product or service (e.g.do you require a physical site, the internet, and or telephony)
- essential equipment/software
- your staff and their roles and responsibilities
Identify your Plan B
You need to consider the alternative options you have if vital areas of your business become unavailable. For example...
- What would your business do if you lost some of your suppliers? Over what time period would it be tolerable?
- How would you cope if you were to lose the means to sell your product or service (e.g. do you require a physical site, the internet, and/or telephony?)
- Does your staff have the ability to work from home? Is this an option for longer term business continuity issues? Over what time periods would it be tolerable?
- What would your business do if some or all of your team were suddenly unavailable? Can you reassign roles to alternative people? Over what time periods would it be tolerable for different people?
- How would you communicate/work with stakeholders if you lost ICT access? Over what time periods would it be tolerable?
- How would you cope without essential equipment/software if they became available? Is there an alternative type of equipment, do you have data backups? Over what time period could the changes be tolerated?
Write a list of key contacts
- Have you got the contact details of key stakeholders in the business?
- Who will you require support from?
- Are these details easy to find and access for anyone in the business who would need them?
Learn from your experiences
- Incidents such as the coronavirus pandemic have made businesses adapt and change the way they offer their product and services
- You may know what you would do differently if a similar incident was to occur but do your team? Make sure your staff know where they can find your latest plan
- Write, Test and update regularly a business continuity plan