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Business continuity planning, step by step – Steps 7 & 8

Business continuity planning, step by step – Steps 7 & 8


This is the final part of our series on business continuity planning, inspired by recent research by Legal & General, which found that 40% of small businesses would cease trading within a year of losing a key person, but that few business owners understood such risks when asked. Our critical tests should help you produce a business continuity plan that covers all your vulnerabilities as a small to medium sized operation. Scroll back through the blog to find the first six tests.

 

[Test 7] How would we stay in touch?
Throughout your crisis management planning exercise, have you considered how you’ll communicate with everybody if a crisis does occur? It might seem obvious, but it’s often the weak link in the chain. What if the crisis is that your company mobile provider goes offline? Who has all the phone numbers, and are they contactable? You don’t want to wing this at the last minute, or it could easily turn into – ‘No, I haven’t spoken to Jimmy – I thought you had’. Make sure you have a very clear plan for who should connect with whom.

To preserve every link in the chain, everyone should be responsible for contacting two people. This overlap is vital in case one person can’t be contacted for any reason, and ensures the message still gets through. An off-site emergency pack is definitely worth producing; this could feature key contact information for staff, next of kin, customers and suppliers, financial and insurance information, cash and credit cards, spare keys, passwords, data back ups and other essential supplies.

[Test 8] Does everyone know what the plan is?
This is crucial and yet is something that so many businesses forget; now you have a business continuity plan in place, does everyone know about it?! You may have spent hours doing your research and putting together a comprehensive step-by-step crisis management plan, but it will all be in vain if it sits forever in a folder, high up on a neglected shelf.

Policy is never the most exciting part of running a business, so make sure that everyone working with you is given the time and the opportunity to read it thoroughly and ask any questions. If you can get staff involved in creating the plan, even better. This is especially important in a larger organisation where communication can often be more difficult; you never know who may come face to face with a crisis, so it’s not enough just for key senior staff to be in the know.

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