It doesn’t matter how much you have spent on insuring various aspects of your business; you still need a business continuity plan.
A business continuity plan makes it easier for you to manage disaster and get your business up and running again in the event of an unforeseen unfortunate occurrence. With a business continuity plan in place, you wouldn’t have to lose much in terms of potential businesses, customers and employees when a disaster occurs. You would be able to continue your business again just like nothing happened.
A business continuity plan is one of the cheapest forms of insurance a company can have as it would cost you nothing. But sadly, a lot of companies prefer to pass on this vital aspect and usually do not bother until it becomes too late. To develop your own business continuity plan, here are some of the checklist items you should include.
Writing a Business Continuity Plan – Sample Template / Checklist
1. List the aims and objectives of the plan
First, you have to clearly analyze your reason for creating the business continuity plan as well as the objectives you want to achieve. Of course, your main aim for creating the business continuity plan is to help your company bounce back as fast as possible in case it gets hit by a disaster. You should state this in the business continuity plan (BCP) as well as the nature of potential disasters.
2. Back-up personnel
Next, you should make a list of personnel that will take charge of decision making or fill important roles when disaster occurs. Some job functions are too important to leave empty for any reason, as leaving them vacant may lead to even greater problems for the continued existence of the company. You should identify such positions and make a list of persons who would fill such positions along with their contact addresses, email addresses and phone number and all other necessary contact information.
3. External contacts
Asides the internal critical positions, some external positions are also highly critical—such as business consultants, company attorneys and accountants, bankers, and information technology consultants. Mostly, these should be people who are instrumental and could assist to help the business bounce back quickly. You should make a list of such people as well as their contact addresses and include it in your business continuity plan.
Do the same thing for critical equipment as well. Are there any machines or equipments that are crucial to the operation of your business? Is there any special software that contains important business data? You should make a list of such equipment and software. And if there are any off-site backups, these should be included as well.
5. Business documents
Every company has some vital documents and business papers, like its incorporation documents, tax certificates, banking details, lease agreements and staff information. In the event that a disaster such as fire or flood occurs, such documents may be lost thereby leading to further complications for the business. How do you intend to handle loss of documents if a disaster occurs? You should include this in your BCP too.
6. Contingency equipment
Let’s assume that a production company loses all its vital equipment and machinery, which it uses to manufacture its goods. Of course, the company would have insured these equipment and machines, but the insurance company is not going to pay you the same day you file your claims, would they? Would you then leave your consumers hanging and allow your competitors to take over while you try to get yourself together again? You have to put a plan in place for contingency equipment that could be used to continue operation until you can start to operate fully again.
7. Contingency location
Where would you move your business to temporarily in case you lose your current business premises? Can your employees work from home pending the time you can recover your location? These are things you have to look into and detail how it is going to be handled if such situations arise.
8. Instruction list
There should also be an instruction list that contains several crucial responsibilities to be handled in times of disaster and how they should be handled. For instance, there should be a detailed instruction on how to contact your insurance company to inform them of the disaster as well as how to file insurance claims. This should be done for every crucial responsibility in the company.
9. Documentation of your business continuity plan
When you have finished writing your business continuity plan, ensure that you have it documented in both soft and hard copies. You could use cloud storage and off-site backups for the soft copies. As for the hard copies, ensure that every key personnel would not only have a copy but also understand what to do with it.
Although a business continuity plan is easy to make and should be something you can come up with on your own, you can consider hiring a consultant to handle it for you if you find it challenging to handle.