May 26, 2022

StrategisChhr

Skillful Business Crafters

11 Critical Aspects Of An Effective Business Continuity Strategy

All businesses are prone to disruption, which can range from minor to significant and be expected or unforeseen. No matter its industry or size, every company should have a solid business continuity plan in place to ensure that it can remain operational in the event of any disaster, disruption or threat.

While most large corporations have official business continuity plans, many small businesses don’t. If your organization lacks a continuity plan, the time to develop one is now. Here, 11 members of Forbes Coaches Council share some specific, often-overlooked aspects of an effective business continuity strategy that small to midsize businesses should consider incorporating into their own plans.

1. Testing And Validation

Many companies fail to test their plans. A plan may look good on paper, but it must be validated and tested to make sure it will work. I often see this step overlooked when organizations back up their technology. What will happen if the backup is bad? How do you know it works without testing? I have seen this misstep cost smaller companies thousands of dollars in lost information and recovery efforts. You must ask the question, “How do you know?” – Michael Mirau, ProActive Leadership Group

2. A Communications Plan

When it comes to business continuity plans, most businesses forget to create a communications plan. A communications plan should inform your employees about the process changes and priorities, expectations, purpose, and how you’ll protect your employees during a disruption. More importantly, it should address their concerns and be transparent, empathetic, appreciative and consistently conveyed. – Arathi Ramappa, Arathi Concepts LLC


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3. A Focus On Cash Flow

Business continuity has to center around cash flow. Cash flow and cash flow projections are often overlooked in small businesses. In order to properly plan, you have to know where the money is and where it is going. This will allow you to properly produce a continuity plan that will continue to move you forward. – Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience

4. A Desk Plan Policy

Succession planning should be a part of each role in an organization, at all levels. Implement a desk plan policy, which is a document that covers the information needed to perform each role. It should describe key operations; decisions to be made on a daily, weekly or monthly basis; key contacts; processes; reporting tools and mechanisms; and the location of information that might be necessary for an emergency. – Natalie McVeigh, EisnerAmper

5. Internal Leadership Development

Small businesses are often launched with a sole proprietor, so an often-overlooked aspect of planning is internal leadership development. In addressing this aspect you create a pool of potential successors in the case of needed changes for any reason that may come up. – Brent McHugh, Christar International

6. A Healthy, Ingrained Culture

A healthy and ingrained culture is a key component of sustaining a business through economic hills and valleys. It clarifies the mission and the boundaries for decision making, establishes the norms for team member behavior and interactions, and supports retention and attraction of key resources. It is never too soon to integrate measurement, monitoring and maintenance of culture. – Angela Morrill, Angela Morrill Leadership & Life Coaching

7. Knowledge Of Both Internal And External Risk Factors

Whether your organization is big or small, you should always have a risk strategy. To develop it, you should know not only your internal weaknesses and risks but also the external risks and obstacles. A small company has the advantage of agility and can adapt faster and more effectively to counter external influences. On the other hand, large companies are tankers, and they need more time for changes and a business continuity plan for crises. – Michael Thiemann, Strategy-Lab™

8. A ‘Run Book’

Create a “Run Book,” which is a document (both on paper and online) in which all of the basic company information, including account names, numbers, passwords and so on are stored. It should also include contact information for clients and vendors, and it should be updated regularly and be accessible to key players in the organization “in case” something happens to one or more of them. – Gregg Ward, The Center for Respectful Leadership

9. Tech Backups

Many small to midsize businesses have adopted technology in their processes. However, they overlook planning for when that technology is disrupted. It’s essential to have backups, both literal and figurative. It’s also vital to continuously own and have access to your data apart from any processing provider. Then, when there is a disruption, you have what you need to restore essential business data. – Kathi Laughman, The Mackenzie Circle LLC

10. A Clear Succession Plan

The most critical, but often overlooked, aspect to incorporate in a business continuity strategy is a leadership succession plan. Small and midsize organizations are not immune to the “Great Resignation”; without a leadership succession plan in place, attrition at the leadership level leaves these companies very vulnerable. – Caroline Vernon, Intoo, USA

11. Process Documentation

One important aspect to incorporate in a continuity plan is documentation of processes, procedures and the ways your company does what it does. When you create a living document of each process and procedure, if the loss of a member of staff or management occurs, there is a way to continue in the breach until a suitable replacement is found and gets up to speed in the position. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time. – Kim Neeson, Kim Neeson Consultancy

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2022/03/22/11-critical-aspects-of-an-effective-business-continuity-strategy/