Your business continuity plan is one of the most critical parts of your succession planning. It’s your opportunity to outline the steps that should be taken in the event of an emergency, such as a natural disaster, a cyber attack, a major lawsuit, or the departure of either the owner or a key employee.
Since the main goal of a business continuity plan is preservation, both of the business itself as well as its operations, you first need to identify the people and processes that are essential from that which is nonessential. Essential resources and processes can then be mobilized accordingly to help contain and minimize the scope of the disruption.
That said, there is no one-size-fits all business continuity plan. Since each business and industry will come with its own combination of disruption risks and challenges, each continuity plan will be unique to the business itself.
There are, however, some common steps you will need to take when creating your continuity plan in order for it to be effective:
- Conduct a business impact analysis to determine which are your core business operations, processes, and systems and identify the resources that support them. This analysis would classify essential versus non-essential functions and processes. It would also include a breakdown of essential roles and key employees, with information about how each would be impacted by a given disruption.
- Develop detailed plans of action to maintain critical processes, systems, and resources organized around likely emergency situations. This should include a plan to secure and back up sensitive data and critical data systems, hardware and applications. You should also consider the assignment of responsibilities among employees to carry out the continuity plan in the event of an emergency.
- Once you develop a continuity plan, you need to re-examine it on a regular basis with preset times to make any updates and adjustments along the way. This will help to ensure that your plan is relevant and ready to go should you need it.
These are only a few of the many steps and areas for consideration when developing a business continuity plan. It may take some work to get the right plan in place. But, it will pay for itself many times over should an emergency arise.