Elements Of An Effective Business Continuity Strategy
An effective business continuity strategy is very important to your business and brand success. Business continuity is so important because you want everything running smoothly at all times. Whether it be a natural disaster, an act of terrorism, or something smaller like a power outage around the block, your customers and clients want to know they can count on you even when the world around you might be shutting down or interrupted.
What is a Business Continuity Strategy?
Think of this strategy as a plan and how to keep your business running in the face of adversity. What will you do when there is a power outage but you need to keep all your computers up and running? As your business grows in size, you will start hiring more and more people. You need to have a plan for your employees when disaster strikes.
For starters, you want to make sure they are taken care of and they are safe. But, ideally, your business, and your employees, will be able to continue to work without much of a transition even during the biggest disaster. Figuring out how to keep your employees safe and your business running when disaster strikes – that is what a good business continuity strategy will do for you!
What are some common Mistakes?
Make sure you test out your continuity plan before disaster strikes. You want to make sure your continuity strategy has no holes in it before you need to rely on it in a crisis.
Another common mistake is not having a clearly defined team. When disaster strikes, you want a team and a leader predefined who can step in and lead the way. Confusion is the enemy when a crisis strikes. Define that team ahead of time and trust them to execute when times are confusing.
You want a plan, a well-defined team to execute that plan, and a tested plan – those are the keys to making sure your strategy will be successful.
Come up with a Plan and Perform Testing
You’ve got your team and leaders defined, now you need a plan. The first part of your plan is determining your businesses’ priorities. What is most important, protecting your brand, going after new revenue, helping your community? There is no wrong answer, but you want to think about that as you develop your plan.
Once you have your plan, you need to test it. Think about all the different crises you are trying to protect against, and don’t make the mistake of thinking just because your plan can be executed in one crisis as it can in another. A flood knocking out your servers might be different than just if you have to shut your physical doors for a day.
Just because you test one time doesn’t mean you are done testing forever. You should make a point to reassess and retest your plan at least annually, so you can always have confidence it will work.
What will your communication look like?
Remember that your team’s normal communications might be knocked down by whatever disaster you are facing. Phones and the internet could make you unable to communicate like you normally would. Give thought to whether you will need press releases, public statements, and how you will communicate within your own team.
You need to have a plan to communicate both internally and externally. How will you talk to your team and employees? And, how will you communicate any public statements or press releases? Factor communication into your business continuity strategy, so this will all run smoothly if you need to rely on it when a crisis strikes.
How will you keep your employees safe?
While this plan and strategy is about your business, any good business owner knows that his business is only as strong as his team of employees. How will you help your team of employees navigate a stressful time? You could be looking at a situation where neighborhoods are devasted by fires or terrorism.
It’s a good idea to set aside a fund that you can use to help employees if their homes are destroyed. Plan ahead. Develop strategies that you can use to help your employees, and know which resources are available to help them. Set up hotlines so they can reach FEMA or the Red Cross, depending on what the exact emergency is that you are facing.
Keeping your Business Running
Now that your employees are safe, what’s the plan to keep your business running? If the physical location of your offices has been impacted, you will need a remote work plan. Now is as good a time as any to make sure your business can be conducted remotely. Plan ahead so your employees have the means and abilities to work even if they can’t physically get to the office. Public transportation might be down. If you are in a big city, this can be catastrophic to your employees’ability to get to the office. Don’t let that sink your businesses. Build into your business continuity strategy a way for your employees to stay connected to each other and to your business even if they can’t get to the office.
Data Center Continuity
The last component of your business continuity strategy is making sure that your data center is always fully functional. To accomplish this, you are going to want to always have more than one data center up and running. If one is knocked offline for whatever reason, you want it to be a seamless transition for your employees to switch over to a different option.
It can be a little overwhelming to think about all this disaster preparation. Reach out and connect with OnPar today! We offer no-obligation business continuity consultations, and we will offer answers to all your questions! Contact us today and see how OnPar can help you create a great business strategy! You’re not in this alone, and we have helped a lot of companies get started on their plans for business continuity.