Developing a Business Continuity Plan

Business Continuity Plan concept image, symbolising strategy, resilience, and disaster recovery planning

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a comprehensive strategy outlining how a business will continue operating during and after an unplanned disruption. The purpose of a BCP is to ensure that essential business functions can continue with minimal disruption during events such as natural disasters, technological failures, pandemics, or other emergencies.

The initial components of a continuity plan include an initial risk assessment to understand the risks, creating an action plan so staff members know how to respond in a crisis, and proactively reducing risk. You can learn about these three steps in our guide on preparing your business for disaster.

The next crucial element of a BCP is crafted to ensure the seamless continuation of your business in the aftermath of a disaster. Read on as we guide you through the essential steps of developing strategies and tactics to mitigate risks and ensure the continuity of critical business functions.

Ensuring the continuity of your business

Planning an alternate location

Planning an alternate location involves identifying and preparing a secondary site where essential business operations can be carried out if the primary location becomes inaccessible or compromised.

When deciding on an alternate location, start with a thorough assessment of potential alternate sites, considering factors such as location (for example, it needs to be close enough so your staff can go to work, but far enough away that it isn’t impacted by the disaster that compromised your primary place of business), accessibility, infrastructure, and capacity to support critical functions. Once a suitable location is chosen, detailed arrangements should be made to ensure that necessary resources, equipment, and personnel can quickly transition to the alternate site. This may include establishing remote access to IT systems, securing temporary office space, and arranging transportation for employees.

Consider running drills to test the effectiveness of the alternate location plan. By proactively planning for an alternate location, businesses can mitigate the impact of unforeseen events and maintain business continuity with minimal disruption.

Organising an alternate supply chain

If your business requires raw materials or goods to operate, it’s a good idea to have a supply chain backup in case your usual suppliers are out of action.

Creating a supply chain backup involves identifying potential risks and vulnerabilities within your existing supply chain and developing contingency plans to mitigate these risks. For example, diversifying suppliers, establishing multiple sourcing options, and identifying alternative transportation routes or modes.

Your business should establish clear communication channels with suppliers and logistics partners to ensure swift coordination during emergencies. Developing relationships with backup suppliers and regularly assessing their capabilities can enhance resilience and flexibility in responding to disruptions. With an alternate supply chain, you can reduce the impact of disruptions, maintain continuity of operations, and safeguard against potential losses.

Customer relationship plan

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, so maintaining your business relationship is essential during business disruption. Developing a customer relationship plan as part of your business continuity strategy is vital for maintaining trust, loyalty, and stability during times of crisis.

Your plan should involve establishing clear communication channels to keep customers informed about any disruptions and how the business intends to mitigate them. It should also include measures to address customer inquiries and concerns promptly, ensuring transparency and reliability. Phone and email communication will be invaluable when corresponding with clients, so ensure you have access to your CRM software and any email, phone or communication software required.

Proactive outreach initiatives, such as email updates, can reassure customers and maintain their confidence in the business’s ability to weather the storm. By prioritising customer relationships within your business continuity plan, you can strengthen customer loyalty, and emerge stronger from challenging circumstances.

Ensuring employee wellbeing

Ensuring employee wellbeing is essential for maintaining productivity, morale, and organisational resilience during times of disruption. This involves prioritising the physical and mental health of employees by implementing proactive measures to support their safety and well-being.

An employee wellbeing plan can include providing clear guidance on remote work procedures, offering access to resources for managing stress and anxiety, and facilitating open communication channels for addressing concerns. You might like to consider flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or adjusted schedules, to accommodate employees’ needs during challenging times. Training programs on health and safety protocols, emergency procedures, and resilience-building can also empower employees to navigate crises effectively.

By prioritising employee wellbeing within the business continuity plan, you demonstrate your commitment to the welfare of your workforce while also safeguarding operational continuity and long-term success.

Reduce key man risk

Depending on the type of disaster your business may face, it’s reasonable to assume that some of your key staff may not be able to return to work straight away. Reducing key man risk involves creating procedure manuals and handover documents to ensure that essential business operations can continue seamlessly in the absence of key personnel.

As the business owner or manager, it’s crucial to proactively plan for scenarios where you or key staff may need to step away or become unavailable. This includes devising methods to train multiple staff members in all key business tasks to mitigate the risk of dependency on specific individuals.

In the event of severe damage or closure due to an emergency or disaster, the livelihoods of your staff are at stake, highlighting the importance of continuity planning. Staff absences, whether temporary or unforeseen, can impact business recovery, particularly if key skills or knowledge are concentrated within specific individuals. By prioritising staff training and procedure documentation, you can safeguard against disruptions and ensure the long-term viability of your business operations.

Comprehensive insurance

Insurance is a crucial safeguard against unforeseen events and disruptions and may be instrumental in getting a business back on its feet after an unexpected disaster. It functions as a financial mechanism to cover the costs of reinstating assets and facilities damaged or lost during emergencies, ensuring that businesses can recover and resume operations swiftly.

Depending on the type of cover, insurance may indemnify businesses for the loss of profits incurred during periods of downtime, offering a critical lifeline to reduce financial strain and maintain stability. By strategically selecting insurance coverage tailored to your business’s specific needs and risks, you can help protect against potential losses, strengthening your overall continuity strategy.

We’re here to help

If you’d like to explore your business-specific risks, continuity planning and commercial insurance, contact us at Barrack Broking.


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Barrack Broking

In 1849, an Australian insurance company and mutual society was founded. It opened its doors in a small office above a fruit shop in Sydney, opposite Barrack Gate… and rose to become the largest insurer in the British Empire. Today, Barrack Broking is opening its doors. 170 years later, albeit embracing those same values and insuring Australian greatness.

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