One of the biggest challenges for businesses globally, is ensuring that operations continue, even when disasters strike. This can happen anytime. In today’s highly competitive market, if you slip you can lose out, and that’s when your customers switch to competition. Actually, it’s rare that we get prior notice before a disaster strikes!
We have seen some small businesses fail within the first five years, while some succeed. Significantly, most of the time, the reason for failure is that businesses fail to prepare for the future.
We are now locked in under the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. For businesses (specially small businesses) this is a critical time, for they have been hit badly. To give your business outfit the best shot at success during a disaster, you need to have a plan. This is where a ‘business continuity plan’ comes into play. For, lack of a plan may not just mean your recovery will take longer; it could very well mean that you could go out of business for good!
Why do you need a business continuity plan? As a business owner, you need to ask yourself this question. After all, becoming an entrepreneur is all about taking risks. You have to ensure that your business is sustainable, and for doing this you need to put systems in place. You need to ensure that your business will not go down under any threat that may lead to its collapse.
How can business continuity help?
What does Business Continuity (BC) mean? It refers to maintaining business functions or immediately resuming them in the event of a huge disruption. It can be caused by natural disasters like earthquakes, flood or non-natural disasters like fire or a cyber attack. Currently, we are reeling under the coronavirus pandemic.
A business continuity plan outlines procedures and instructions that must be followed when you encounter such disasters, and it includes business processes, assets, human resources, business partners and more.
A Business Continuity Plan can assist organizations in many ways. Here’s how:
Learn how to keep your business afloat: The reality check for small business owners is that 49% of all start up business fail. Therefore, it is imperative that a business continuity plan has to be in place, so that the unpredictable effects of a downturn can be faced. The plan ensures that your business recovers fast enough and does not experience major downtime when things are not going as projected. Plus, it prevents you from incurring more losses and can give a boost to your business, allowing it to breakeven while the situation stabilizes. It gives your business more flexibility so that it can adapt to changes in future.
Anticipate disasters: Disasters are not limited to natural disasters, but they can be a variety of problems that may hit your business. Major problems faced by organizations today include hacking and cyber attacks. And, now, the COVID-19 pandemic has literally brought the world to a halt. Businesses are trying to innovate and create new paradigms. Thus, it is important to engage in disaster recovery planning measures that can be implemented. It helps to minimize losses.
Focus on customer protection: You need to protect your customer, who is one of business’s most valuable asset. This is even more true, when disaster strikes. You have to safeguard customer data so that it doesn’t fall into wrong hands. The business contingency plan will help you realise what to do in case a customer is faced with a threat.
Enhances the competitive spirit: You will have the upper hand in controlling and managing the customer’s needs, vis-à-vis competition. Clients always prefer a stable and secure business; and, thus if they are given assurance, they will be willing to support your business, through thick and thin, rather than shifting tracks to competitors.
Enables better communication & can build corporate reputation: Communication is key to business success. Any lapses can block not only growth of the organization, but can damage the reputation. An effective BC plan ensures that employees are reassured during a crisis and can stop them from panicking, in case the business is faced with a threat. Thus, both internal and external publics – the employees and customers are able to depend on the organization, due to its suitability to manage situations effectively.
your business should be careful when choosing a Business Continuity Plan.
If you fail to prop up resources for the business continuity plan, it may bomb! And it may leave you in a much worse condition than you were before the disaster happened! Have a realistic approach towards contingency planning – set realistic objectives so that the business can get over any mishap.