Is your SME prepared for a critical incident? Whether it’s an internal event like damage to your premises, or a large scale international affair like the Greek debt crisis, companies large and small are vulnerable to forces beyond their control. The difference between those that fold and those that weather the crisis is often a well prepared business continuity management toolkit. In these uncertain times, business continuity management is invaluable, enabling your business to power on through the pitfalls and come out confidently on the other side. Read on to discover how to implement business continuity in a small or medium sized enterprise (SME).
Why invest in business continuity?
Having backup plans in place protects organisations from predictable disruptions which could otherwise have a disastrous impact. But business continuity is more than just crisis management:
- Good business continuity management practice protects the interests and investments of shareholders, increasing confidence in your enterprise.
- It can help organisations of all sizes (not just large companies) to be more comfortable with their existing vulnerabilities and external threats.
- Business continuity management can help companies to identify previously unfamiliar issues and prepare for the impact of these issues arising. It can help you to understand more about the risks to your business and adjust your activities accordingly.
First steps to protect your SME
Many SMEs fail to put adequate business continuity plans in place, leaving them exposed in the event of a crisis. If that sounds like you, here’s how you can put things right. A business continuity management toolkit can help you become resilient, protect shareholder interests and add value to your business, all in a cost effective way.
Smaller businesses may worry about the cost of implementing business continuity plans, but in reality the process does not have to be costly. First of all, it’s about being familiar with the potential weak points in your business. What will happen if a key supplier goes bust? Thinking along these lines will help you to put measures in place to help your business survive pitfalls like these. At Resilience Guard, our consultants formalise this process and call it a Business Impact Analysis (BIA).
Armed with your BIA, the next step is to put together a business continuity plan. This addresses all the potential failures that could impact your business and outlines alternative courses of action to help keep the business running as usual.
Finally, once you have a business continuity plan in place, it’s time to ensure that key staff are aware of the details of the plan and know what to do if things go wrong. This is a key part of the business continuity management process – it’s no good having a dusty document hidden in a drawer if it is not embedded as part of your company culture.
Staying one step ahead
Once you’ve taken these first steps, it’s important to always stay one step ahead. Make sure your business continuity management toolkit is reviewed on a regular basis to take account of new developments, personnel changes and other factors that could affect your company. Give your company a culture that places value on being prepared and trains its staff accordingly. However small your enterprise, cutting corners on business continuity is something you can ill afford in the long run. A small investment now will arm you with the tools to survive the months and years ahead.