Business Continuity is simply looking at the threats and risks to your business and taking steps to reduce or even eliminate those risks. Where the risks cannot be eliminated a business continuity plan will minimise the impact if it still happens.
If you can only spare ten minutes to consider business continuity, please see the Business in the Community website.
Disruptions can affect any organisation or business – no-one is immune to their effects. These could be internal issues or community-based problems. They may include:
- natural disaster such as flooding or snow
- loss of staff, for example, during a flu pandemic
- utilities failure
- loss of, or denial of access to premises
- communication failure
- industrial action, internally or externally, for example, a fuel shortage
- loss of important data or inability to access it when required
- loss of specialist resources or technology
- finding new suppliers or contractors if they go bust.
It makes sense to take steps and plan to protect your business before any threats materialise. That way you will be much more likely to recover and return to “business as usual”. Any disruption to normal business can affect customer relationships and your reputation, sometimes beyond repair.
It won’t happen to me
Emergencies and business disruption don’t just happen to other companies. They often occur suddenly without warning. Any of the situations mentioned above can threaten your business.
You will have invested significantly in your business and need to ensure it remains safe, workable and secure. Being prepared reassures your customers and suppliers and shows you take resilience seriously.
- Do you know and understand the threats and risks to your business?
- Are you prepared for a disruption?
- Have you addressed how you deliver your critical functions?
- Do you have a business continuity plan (BCP)?
- What if a disruption prevented delivery to your main customer? Would they stay loyal or go to a competitor?
- Would you be able to warn customers of potential problems – even if you did not have access to your premises or database?
- Can you alert staff in the event of a disruption?
- Could you deal with the media during a disruption?
- Is your business continuity plan regularly reviewed, tested and audited?
- Are you satisfied with the level of resilience within your organisation?
Business continuity planning – developing your plan
Businesses that do not have a business continuity plan in place and are affected by a disruption have a much reduced chance of survival. Many will go out of business because they are unable to recover quickly enough.
The size and nature of your business will determine how comprehensive your plan needs to be. There are many self-assessment tools available to help you gauge how prepared you are.
Where to find additional information
See the related links below or alternatively an internet search will identify a number of business continuity consultancies that can offer advice and assistance in developing your business continuity plan.
The role of the DEPP partners in BCP is as a catalyst, to raise awareness in the public and to be a conduit for information for all interested parties. Although we have our own plans we are not able to provide specific advice or assistance to help you write your plan
If you would like an example template please send a request to DEPP@devon.gov.uk and we will be able to provide you with one.
- Pandemic Influenza checklist for businesses
- Business Continuity Management for fuel shortages
- How prepared are you? – Business Continuity Management Toolkit
- Business Continuity for dummies
- Business Continuity Institute
- Continuity Central
- Association of British Insurers
- The Emergency Planning Society
- Secure in the Knowledge – Building a Secure Business