There are a number of risks which can affect your business if you are unprepared.
Unplanned IT outages
Problems in the supply chain
Fire or flood
Act of terrorism
Transport network disruptions
- Having a plan in place is reassuring to employees, who know they'll receive clear instruction if a disruption to normal business occurs.
- Having a plan in times of emergency can minimise reputational damage.
- Working on a plan helps you identify key services in your business and how they affect each other. This promotes better decision making.
When thinking about what area of your business could be affected, think FORCES:
- Financial - If your business isn't operating at normal levels, you'll still have outgoings. Think about how you'll cover these.
- Operation - If one service is affected, will it have a knock-on effect?
- Reputation - How will you manage potential reputational damage? Will this cause customers to leave?
- Customer - If disruption inconveniences customers, they may go elsewhere.
- Environment - Ensure you can still compete with other organisations in the business environment.
- Staffing - Staff won't stay long if you can't pay - and it's a big undertaking to rehire and train.
Your plan should be:
Concise - short and to the point. You need to get your key messages across quickly, and a long plan will slow people down.
Accessible - Don't store your plan in one place. Make back ups, and keep them in different places. Don't store them all on the same computer system.
Easy to read - using simple language means that people understand what they need to do more immediately. You want anyone in your business to be able to access and understand the plan.
If you need help completing your plan
We're unable to write or review your plan, but there are consultants who can produce a plan on your behalf, for a fee.
What are the risks? For each earea of your business, write a business impact analysis. Produce a timeline for their recovery in the event of disruption, before their failure causes irreversible damage.
Once you've assessed the risks and the impact on eacharea of your service, you can write your plan, which will set out what to do if disruption hits. Use the templates above to help you.
Testing your plan is a vital part of ensuring its effectiveness. Testing can identify gaps and fix things which aren't working.
Run through these scenarios in a table-top exercise with your staff to test your plan works:
Scenario guidelines (PDF)
A plan needs to be kept up to date to be effective:
- Review it after any major changes to your staff, procedures, premises, suppliers or services.
- Check that staff contact details are correct every year.