Your Business Continuity Plan: A Risk Management Necessity

Originally posted on December 1, 2009 on emeryroad.wordpress.com

Is your business prepared for disastrous events?

Disasters can have a significant impact on your business, preventing you from operating your business efficiently and costing you valuable time, money, and resources.

What happens when a tornado rips through your warehouse and destroys the products that were scheduled to ship that day? Or when your supplier or vendor is unable to provide the service you need to meet a deadline? How about when the power goes out? Are you still able to manage your business and meet your clients’ needs?

There are so many disasters that can have a major impact on your company’s ability to operate. Developing and maintaining a business continuity plan can help you manage your business when disaster strikes.

What is Business Continuity All About?

Business continuity is about being prepared for disasters. It’s about being able to continue business operations and minimize the financial impact a disaster can have on your business.

What does a Business Continuity Plan Involve?

An effective business continuity plan defines a set of procedures a company or individuals should take when a disaster occurs. Information to consider includes:

  • emergency contacts and phone numbers
  • a secondary location if your main building is damaged
  • a procedure for backing up important information
  • a plan for how to proceed if unable to provide service.

An Example

Take my copywriting business, for example. A power outage or internet failure could have a huge impact on my ability to work and meet deadlines. If I am up on a deadline and I don’t have access to my desktop computer or the internet because the power is out, and if I haven’t taken any precautions, I would be unable to deliver the work on time.

The Ripple Effect

What if my client were up on a deadline and needed my work in order to submit their final product? I’m sure the client would understand my situation, provided I had access to his phone number so I could reach him. But would he feel confident enough about hiring me for another writing project? Perhaps not.

So, what can I do to protect my business?

There are a number of things I would need to do in order to ensure that I could deliver my work on time, even during a disaster. True, there could be times when I really wouldn’t be able to do much about the disaster, for example, if the power went out and I got snowed in.

In order to meet my deadlines in the event of a disaster, I would need to have a recent backup of the project I’m working on. So, I need to put my work on a jump drive or send it to myself in an e-mail.

Let’s take this two disasters further and say the jump drive fails and my e-mail server is down. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue because I tend to print out my work, but what if I didn’t?

I would also need an alternative for internet access which would most likely involve driving to the library, and if my e-mail server is down, I would need a separate e-mail account and the e-mail addresses of all recipients.

So, you see, it is important that a company, large or small, have some kind of business continuity plan in place in order to mitigate its risks and help ensure it is able to operate in the event of a disaster.

What does your company need to do to be more prepared?

About the Author: Jody Calkins is a freelance business writer who writes about business development, risk management, security protection, and business standards. Visit www.emeryroad.com for more information and samples.

Jody Calkins
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