If you’re an entrepreneur in the initial stages of your startup business, you’re aware that you need a reliable business plan to start the right way. However, starting a business the right way and keeping it afloat for many years are two different challenges. The latter is just as important as the former. And for you to do it successfully, you also need a business continuity plan aside from a startup business plan. For that reason, we invite you to take a look at our Sample Business Continuity Plan Templates!
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What Is a Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan is a document that outlines the various strategies to keep a business running for longer terms. It discusses multiple approaches for a business to avoid threats, recover from disasters, and capitalize on opportunities for growth. It’s quite similar to a simple business plan. But its focus is to help a business maneuver the factors that affect its life cycle. On the other hand, a simple business plan’s focus is to establish a business on the right note.
Both a small business and a large business can benefit from having a continuity plan. Not everything in their operations will go as planned. And external entities in the industry can impact them adversely. But with a continuity plan, they’ll have the tools to overcome any challenge.
How to Create a Business Continuity Plan
As an entrepreneur, one of your goals should be to sustain your business. Planning a business is one thing, sustaining it is another. So aside from brainstorming ideas for your new business plan, you must also spend time structuring a business continuity plan. You’ll need it if you want your company to remain active in the industry for many years and decades. So, here are the basic business continuity planning steps you must know.
Step 1: Identify Possible Threats and Opportunities
Every industry is either plagued with threats or blessed with opportunities. So whatever type of business you’re planning to open, you have to be ready for them. Do that by identifying threats and opportunities that your company might encounter. Gather info about them by studying the current state of the industry and the market.
As much as possible, check every corner in the industry that your business belongs to. Many factors cause threats and opportunities to sprout. Overlooking a single threat or opportunity can ultimately affect your company. So, do your best to leave no stone unturned.
Step 2: Conduct a Business Impact Analysis
Once you’ve identified the threats and opportunities, study how they can affect your business through a business impact analysis or BIA. Figure out what areas in your company they will touch. For example, if you’ve detected threats in data security, that likely puts your company’s trade secrets and confidential data in jeopardy. That enables you to do a thorough risk assessment, which then allows you to structure the best risk management strategy. Speaking of strategy, that brings us to…
Step 3: Formulate Effective Strategies for Continuity
When formulating your continuity strategies, you should base them on your BIA’s findings. Tailor-make your strategies for your business needs and unique attributes. And, of course, make sure that they help in avoiding threats, capitalizing on opportunities, and recovering from major problems. You have to take your time in creating your strategies. Those are your company’s lifeline when it’s faced with challenges, especially during disaster recovery.
Step 4: Test Your Continuity Plan
A business continuity plan can do more harm than good if it isn’t proven and tested. That said, before you subject your continuity plan for implementation, make sure to test and evaluate its effectiveness. You can do that by simulating situations or conducting drills using your continuity strategies. During the test, you might detect some shortcomings in your strategies. And that’s your signal to make some improvements in your continuity plan.
What are the different phases of continuity strategy plans?
A business continuity strategy plan has three phases. These phases are:
- Planning and prevention
- Disaster response
- Return to normal
What are the steps in testing a business continuity plan?
There are five steps in testing a business continuity plan. These steps are as follows:
- Review the business continuity plan from start to finish.
- Set a schedule and duration for testing the plan.
- Communicate the continuity plan to the employees.
- Simulate a scenario.
- Evaluate the continuity plan’s effectiveness.
How frequent should I test my business continuity plan?
A business continuity plan isn’t a document that your company will open regularly. So, it’s easy to forget that it exists because of hectic daily operations and other advancements in the business. But you shouldn’t do that mistake. From time to time, you have to test your continuity plan. How often? According to Onsolve, companies should evaluate and revise business continuity plans every year.
Think of your company as a ship crossing the ocean. During its journey, it’ll encounter strong winds and gigantic waves that can sink it or divert it to an undesired destination. But if you have a continuity plan, you’ll be able to adjust its sails to weather storms. Thus, your company will always remain afloat. So, as soon as possible, start devising your business continuity plan. And don’t forget to download our templates to make it easier for you.
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