Having a business continuity plan is often overlooked
A business continuity plan can be considered part of a crisis management plan, but it is also a distinct set of preparations for those times crises occur. Sometimes, vaguely thinking in terms of crisis management and business continuity plans can quickly yield to thoughts of pressing matters of immediate importance and it can be difficult to conceptualize the need and scope of such plans. Think of them by comparing them to your car.
I faced a crisis last week when I hit a curb along the street hard enough to burst my tire. You could say that my crisis management plan for such a problem was to have a spare tire in my vehicle and have a membership to AAA. Like Justin Timberlake, I was in a suit and tie, so I implemented my crisis management plan by calling AAA to install my spare and communicated to those expecting me that I wouldn’t be on time.
Illustrating what you cannot plan for
My business continuity plan – to get everything operating back to normal as quickly as possible – was to get a new tire the next day so that I would not have to hobble around on the donut. Bad news came, however, that I had not only burst my tire but that I had broken my wheel rendering it incapable of holding an inflated tire and no one in town had a wheel in stock. It does illustrate that some things you just cannot plan for.
But in your business, you can examine the most likely potential problems that would hinder the normal operation of your business and develop contingencies for those issues should they arise. If you rely on a supplier who suddenly cannot deliver to you in the normal timeframe, can you have a backup ready to contact on short notice?
Set aside time for this critical plan
Set aside a moment to takes stock of those elements of your business that are requisite to the normal functioning of your company and consider how you might respond should one of those elements fail.
While planning for a crisis, you must consider a range of actions you must take in detecting and responding to a crisis. With a business continuity plan, your focus is to determine how quickly and efficiently your can make your operation whole once a crisis has occurred.