Can your business maintain uninterrupted operation when a disaster strikes? This is a question that must be internalized by every entrepreneur, no matter the size or nature of your business or stage of the entrepreneurial journey. Disruptions are inevitable and can never be preempted, it’s vital to have a clear strategy and plan in place to ensure undisturbed business operation, timely deliveries of products/services, honoring of tenders even during the occurrence of catastrophes. If business stalls, profitability is negatively affected, reputation, cyber-crimes, customer base among many other consequences.
Business continuity plan (BCP) is outlaying plan to maintain the running of vital business mandates or swift operational recovery in the occurrence of a disaster, interruption of usual operations. BCP considers some vital business concerns such as chain of command in the occurrence of death or illness of business owner, leader. Responding to negative publicity. It addresses backup plan for extreme situations threatening business operations such as distribution bureaucracy, lawsuits, industrial labor disputes, drastic shifts in market conditions, economic recessions. BCP isn’t ‘a plan 2’ during a crisis or a disaster response strategy, it’s prudent to view it a brave plan for the events you never hope for to take place.
Research by DELL EMC shows that sizeable ventures have zero business continuity plan and are comfortable with various misconception to base their decisions. Important to note, 80% of enterprises that lacks clearly outlined recovery strategy face untimely shut-down within a year of catastrophes such as natural calamities, computer outages also threatens lifeline of several businesses and their financial capacities, with 50% of businesses experiencing the longer outages likely to close down within 5 years.
Most of SMEs have always been reluctant to incorporating BCP in their management, before empowering these small ventures, it’s prudent to evaluate some of their key concerns for the established mindset.
• They are already under insurance cover
With insurance cover in place, most SMEs believes they are covered against losses. SMEs needs to understand that insurance can’t cover all the losses from certain kind of disasters such as loss of customer base, negative public reputation, losses from shortcomings of new product/services released. Insurance alone isn’t sufficient, you must plan for the unthinkable as part of business continuity strategy.
• They lack the time and resources to develop a Business continuity plan
Some SMEs feels developing BCP consumes a lot of time and requires financial might & personnel, which they don’t have. SMEs must learn that it’s better to invest in strategies that ensure uninterrupted business operations despite any disaster. Also, the swifter you normalize operations, the more the success towards recovery. Business can’t afford the losses whenever operations shut down.
• There is no difference between Business continuity plan and Disaster management plan
The misconception is that BCP and disaster recovery plan are compatible. It must be clear that Business continuity planning is more of a proactive strategy that details prior actions, during and after the catastrophe to ensure interruption of business and its financial viability. Disaster recovery plan is a subset of BCP, it’s reactive in nature, meaning that it only outlines safety and restoration guidelines for personnel, locations as well as critical operation directions after a disruption.
Other notable misconception and excuses are ;
• They have personnel ready to respond to emergency
• They are too small to prioritize BCP
• The internet technology and backup plan is just enough
• There are other more critical things to worry about
• They aren’t aware of where to turn to for support on BCP
Some entrepreneurs that have banked on the misconceptions and excuses for a long time, need now to rise and realize the significance of business continuity planning to their ventures and act accordingly. These are some of the insights they need to appreciate;
Maintained of a market base; Uninterrupted business operation, timely delivery of goods/services gives the business that much needed competitive edge and loyalty from the customer base. Having well-structured and tested BCP will ensure business grab the confidence of customer, maintain them from competitors even during times of disaster. A customer will always be satisfied to engage reliable supplier or ventures that never disappoints in its product/service delivery.
Effective communication; Communication is very paramount in an organization. BCP boosts both internal and external communication with customers, suppliers, stakeholders, general public. This goes long way in scaling up operations prior, during and after any event.
Protection of brand; Business brand and reputation have a long-term impact on a business, it’s very vital for every venture. BCP portrays all the time commitment and protection internal customers (employees) and external customers (clients, partners, investors) needs. It ensures positive business environment and better public reputation of the business.
Lessened downtime; Element of time means money, it’s very critical for every entrepreneur thus must not be wasted. Having BCP in place, it won’t affect the revenue of business when a disaster strike, it will ensure uninterrupted operations contrary to a business without BCP, as it has to shut down and take some time to strategize on what step to take in reaction to the disaster.
Disasters are inevitable in business, entrepreneurs must be well equipped and strategize on better ways to overcome the disasters without any disruption. Continuous improvement of the plan to match the ever-changing dynamics is also critical in going forward. It’s better to invest in business sustainability than grapple with excuses, challenges created by business shut-down.