Business Continuity Plans

Bill Gordon, AIF®

As a business owner, you’ve worked hard for your success. The long hours, the difficult decisions, and the sacrifices you have made have led to where you are today. The last thing you want is to suffer a disruption to your business. If there is anything that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s the necessity of businesses to be able to adapt.  However, in the event that you do experience an unavoidable mishap­, it may be smart to have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place.

What is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)? A BCP is a document that maps out a business’ system of prevention and recovery from potential threats or disruptions. A sound BCP ensures that personnel and assets are protected and empowered to take quick action in the event of a disaster. It is important to remember that a BCP should be conceived in advance and may involve input from key stakeholders and personnel.

What is considered a “business disruption”? In general, a “disruption” is anything that causes a business to suffer a loss due to unforeseen events, such as damage to one’s facility, the breakdown of essential machinery, a supplier failing to deliver essential goods, or a technology-related malfunction.

What are the components of a BCP? A BCP should be unique to your business, but there are some common factors consistent among all continuity plans. Creating a business continuity plan includes four steps:

*Conduct a business impact analysis to identify time-sensitive or critical business functions. Be sure you have the resources to support those tasks.

*Identify, document, and implement processes that are essential to the recovery of your business.

*Create a continuity team and compile a step-by-step plan that they can enact during a business disruption.

*Make certain your team is trained and ready. This may take the form of testing or other exercises to evaluate the strength and viability of your recovery strategy.

Be prepared. A BCP is only helpful if it’s put in place early and updated regularly. Some time, care, and training now may help your business weather a storm down the road. Don’t delay; start putting your business continuity plan together soon.