2020 has pushed many companies to their limits, and in some cases business owners have been forced to make difficult decisions about the future of their organisation.
Nobody expected the pandemic and the impact it would have on businesses, but the businesses that have survived – and in some cases, thrived– are likely to have had a contingency plan in place that has enabled them to weather the storm.
Life seems to be intent on delivering curve balls on an almost daily basis at the moment, but still 75%of small business don't have a plan in place for how their business would cope if disaster were to strike.
‘Disaster’ sounds dramatic, but it is. Coronavirus, a hurricane, a cyber attack, all could have a potentially devastating impact on your business, and as this year has shown us, expecting the unexpected could stand you in good stead.
A Business Continuity Plan (or BCP) is a system put in place to give your company the best chance of preventing a potential disaster or interruption to normal business, or to help your business recover should the worst happen. But where to start?
Think about the risks
It might not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but trying to imagine what your business would need to continue operating in the face of threats like floods, fires or terror attacks is a good place to start.
Although having insurance in place might cover some initial damages, it won’t protect the money you stand to lose by not being operational,or in the case of a cyber attack, any potential damage to your brand reputation.
Obviously, there are some risks you can’t prepare for, so your BCP should focus on the areas that have a greater chance of happening,which of course will be different for every business.
Preparing your Business Continuity Plan
The point of the BCP is to protect your organisation’s assets and employees, providing a framework that includes processes and procedures to ensure essential functions can continue.
A BCP will vary depending on the size and nature of your business, but you should consider:
-The purpose of the plan
-What your objectives and goals are
-Identify key business areas and the risks for each – for instance, stock or IT infrastructure
-Train staff and identify critical team members and their contact details
-Prepare a plan for each of the key business areas – for instance, how you back up important data, deal with a loss of power or damage to essential equipment
Don’t write a plan and forget about it
Creating your BCP is just the first step. Simply writing the plan down isn’t enough, you need to make sure it works, by testing it and identifying any potential weak spots. Put together a ‘Recovery Team’, a core group of employees that are familiar with the plan and ask them to consider the risks and the roles they would play should there be an incident.
Bearing in mind businesses are constantly changing, your BCP should be a ‘live’ document, reviewed regularly and updated if anything changes that could interrupt business running smoothly. Types of changes you might want to consider include:
-Have you added any new products or services?
-Have you taken on any new employees?
-Has your site location moved?
-Are your tools and software up to date?
-Have there been any incidents you could learn from?
Once you’ve written your plan, keep digital and paper copies somewhere they can be easily accessed by the relevant team members. You should also keep copies of all the key business documentation you would need to restart your business, such as legal papers, banking and HR documents and store them off site.
Make sure your business doesn’t become a disaster statistic
Putting together a BCP is an important part of any business,as any interruption, whether from a natural disaster or a cyber attack, could result in a loss of revenue and higher costs, making your business less profitable. The BCP should also give you the confidence and peace of mind that your company will be able to continue to function in the event of a disruption.
If this all feels a bit overwhelming, talk to your accountant about how you can go about preparing your business and the steps you need to take to ensure you’ve considered and planned for all risks.
Whether it’s financial, cyber or physical, how effectively your business is able to deal with any difficulty life throws at it will determine how well it will continue. Don’t wait for disaster to strike, get ready and start making a plan.
Talk to us about the plans you have in place to protect your business. Give the Blue Rocket Accounting team a call on 01322 555 442 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
From our base in Dartford, Blue Rocket Accounting supports individuals and companies with services such tax investigation protection, tax planning, management accounts and bookkeeping