Unfortunately, it’s usually the big disasters that come with the least warning. With many businesses being unprepared for such an event, it’s those that are forced to suspend operations due to a natural or human-caused disaster. Unfortunately, it’s usually those which never reopen their doors.
It’s scary to consider that even a relatively minor fire or flood can force your business to shut down operations. It doesn’t have to be a large-scale disaster.
Planning for the worst
The difference between surviving a business interruption and going under often hinges on one factor: preparation.
The best way to prevent a disaster from putting the future of your business at risk is to have a proper business continuity plan in place.
A good business continuity plan will:
- Define potential risks
- Determine how those risks will affect operations
A good business will then:
- Implement safeguards and procedures designed to mitigate those risks
- Test those procedures to ensure that they work
- Review the process to make sure that it is up to date
You will need to begin the process by establishing a planning team to develop the continuity plan. The aims of the team will include:
- Protecting the safety of employees, visitors, contractors and others at risk from hazards at the facility
- Maintaining customer service by minimising interruptions or disruptions of business operations
- Protecting facilities, physical assets and electronic information
- Preventing environmental contamination
- Protecting your organisation’s brand, image and reputation
The planning process should take an ‘all hazards’ approach. It’s good to consider the various different threats and hazards as well as the likelihood of them occurring; as measuring the probability that a specific hazard will impact your business is hard to predict.
A business plan which analyses impact can predict the consequences of an interruption and give you a good idea of how your operations would be affected in case you were forced to temporarily close.
Implementing the plan means acting on recommendations made during the hazard analysis, integrating the plan into company operations, training employees and evaluating the plan on an ongoing basis.
It is important to conduct a formal audit of the entire plan at least once a year to help identify any factors that may necessitate changes, such as updated regulations or new hazards.
Source: Zywave are you prepared if disaster strikes