The recent coronavirus pandemic taught us all something important: no matter how good you think your business continuity plan is, it probably isn’t good enough.
There’s always the risk that some unforeseen circumstance will bring everything crashing down around your ears.
Here’s the simple truth of the matter: no business, no matter how large, can perfectly prepare for all catastrophes in advance. But the recent pandemic proves the point that being flexible offers competitive advantage at very little cost.
Think of all those businesses that suddenly found themselves without revenue because they couldn’t switch to a work-from-home setup. Right now, they’re struggling.
So what principles can you follow to improve your business continuity plan and make it relevant for the 21st century?
Define Products and Services
Take a look at what’s happened across the industry in recent months. Many firms have had to completely redefine what their core products and services actually are.
For some, it’s been a wake-up call that has helped add a great deal of clarity.
Take gyms, for instance. On the surface, it seems like they offer people a place to work out. But now many are discovering that the real value is the role they play in motivating clients to stay fit.
In light of this, many have moved their operations online, drumming up fees from training sessions over the internet.
Read also: Why You’re Not Generating Business During COVID-19
Keep The Lights On
Power outages are still a significant risk that afflicts a large number of companies, according to Dale Power Solutions.
Companies lose mains supply and then don’t have a backup generator on-site to take over, leading to lost revenues.
Keeping the lights on in today’s business, however, means much more than powering machinery and providing air conditioning for colleagues.
Problems with the mains supply also interrupt the ability to collect data – the lifeblood of modern industry. If you can’t gather information about your clients or business processes, then you slowly lose competitive advantage.
Understand The Requirements of Everyone Connected to Your Firm
Any competent business continuity program takes account of multiple stakeholders. Managers, regulators, customers, and colleagues must play some role in your plan for it to be effective.
Usually, you’ll need to design your continuity plan around your contractual obligations – the services you need to provide in your service level agreement. Reneging on this not only puts off your clients but also causes legal problems.
You’ll also want to organize your response around keeping your promises to customers.
Even if a storm destroys your premises, people will still expect you to find a way to deliver on services they’ve paid for. They will understand your loss, but they’ll still want you to make good on the original deal you struck.
Continuity plans must also consider the health and safety of staff. Organizations get into trouble when they develop strategies without actually considering the physical ramifications on their team.
Once you understand requirements, you can then draw up a set of objectives that make sense in the context of the rest of your firm.