What is a Business Continuity Plan and Why Do SMBs Need One?
January 12, 2021
What is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?
In the world of 2020, so many things have been turned upside down in life, especially when it comes to business. Workers have had to do their work remotely, many businesses have had to close down for periods of time or operate very differently than they did pre-Covid-19. In quite a few cases, businesses have had to close down due to poor management or inability to adapt to all the changes thrown at them by regulators and lawmakers.
There is where a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) can help.
A BCP is an internal guide that helps companies navigate through situations that are deemed emergencies. An emergency, in this context, is defined as anything that will significantly impact your business process, operations, or cash flow.
Why All Businesses Need a BCP
Perhaps your business has been weathering the Covid storm without any major issues, but this may not be the case next time. Or maybe you think it’s a waste of time to create a plan when you can just adapt on the fly if something happens. But do you want to bet your company’s existence on that premise when there’s a better way to handle things?
BCPs are fairly common for larger enterprises, to help them be able to adapt to changes that happen in the market and the world at large, but for many SMBs they are a foreign concept. Covid-19 has shown us that the companies best able to adapt and rebound from the massive number of changes that have occurred are those that were prepared to shift and adapt to those changes. Companies that had no Plan B have been impacted much harder than those who already had a plan in place.
SMBs in particular are more vulnerable to emergency situations than larger enterprises due to less revenue/savings, a smaller workforce to deploy towards required changes and less training/documentation of business processes.
The process of creating a BCP should be a “gut check” of the organization, forcing you to examine the weaknesses of your business process and determine the best ways to adapt to them. Doing so may seem like a large investment of resources with potentially no pay-off but as 2020 has proven, emergencies happen and it’s better to be prepared for them than to adapt on the fly as they happen.
Additionally, according to RingCentral, an industry leader in unified communication, “lacking any sort of emergency plan piles on an extra layer of stress for your employees. Working outside the office can create a disconnect and make the team feel less involved in important strategic decisions.” If workers are spending more time thinking about the ‘what ifs’ than their own job, this is going to impact morale, ROI and trust in management.
These factors make it crucial for SMBs to put creating a BCP at the forefront of their plans, not only to deal with the current situation better, but to prepare for potentially worse situations in the future.
How to Create a BCP
A BCP is going to contain several important elements about what needs to happen if a major business disruption occurs, who is handling what aspects and what needs to change so that the company can adapt accordingly. From there, you should test the plan to determine when it can work in a mock emergency or whether it needs additional customization.
Some key points to keep in mind when it comes to an action plan is how people will be managing their jobs. With Covid-19, most people were forced to work from home, leading to increased reliance on cloud services for collaboration, data storage and work. Applications such as Dropbox (document collaboration), RingCentral (unified communication) and Smartsheet (collaborative spreadsheets) have gotten much larger usage over the course of this year to meet the increased demands of a largely remote workforce.
When a real emergency happens and you need to bust out that plan, “having a unified communications platform—from day 1, not day 100—is crucial for the creation and rollout of your continuity plan. Not only do you need to be able to hash out the details of your initial draft but also share and communicate it to employees once the plan is in place.”
BCPs need to have a way to communicate the critical information quickly to the right people. While this can be done via emails or phone calls, it’s often better to schedule a video conference, such as a RingCentral Meeting, to have all your important team members in one place to share information in a live, collaborative environment.
Once you’ve been able to communicate the key elements of the plan, the rest becomes easier as your workforce knows there’s a plan in place and people are taking care of the critical elements.
Positive Results™ works with SMBs to help them determine the gaps in their business process, and design training or adapt technology to fill those gaps. We think this is crucial for every organization during the best of times, but during the current economic climate, it’s even more important to identify the needs of your organization and create a BCP to help manage those needs during this time and during any future situations.
We’re partners with many key players in the cloud space, including RingCentral, Dropbox and Smartsheet. We work with our partners to help our clients be able to most effectively utilize these applications to handle everyday business as well as emergency situations.
If you’re an SMB looking to draft a Business Continuity Plan, consider reaching out to us so we can help you prepare for the worst so your company can focus on being its best.
If you have additional questions or need support, contact us at:
Positive Results™ Custom Business Solutions