It is true that business owners might gain from preparing for the unexpected. Unexpected obstacles, including cyberattacks and natural disasters, can strike out of nowhere and seriously damage your company.
A business continuity plan (BCP) can, however, assist your organisation get ready for those unforeseen circumstances. To assist your organisation get ready for whatever lies ahead, keep reading to discover more about business continuity plans and some of the essential elements you might think about included in your plan.
What is Business Continuity Planning ?
Despite the fact that the three words "business continuity planning" might seem a little frightening, they don't have to be. Business continuity management and planning are essentially frameworks for assisting your company in responding to unforeseen events and circumstances that may disrupt your business.
The PPRR model is among the most often used models for business continuity planning. The acronym PPRR stands for "prevention, preparedness, recovery, and response".
Why is Business Continuity Planning Important ?
A formal framework and method are offered by a small business continuity plan, which can help your company's risks be reduced. It is a carefully thought-out strategy that aids in ensuring the safety of your employees and the assets of your company. An organization's speedy restart is the ultimate objective of a business continuity plan.
7 Elements of a Business Continuity Plan
Undoubtedly not the most enjoyable day you'll spend at work is creating a business continuity strategy. However, it is a vital component of managing a resilient company, therefore it's crucial that you, your business continuity team, and the rest of your personnel take this seriously.
To start, list the plan's objectives and goals
All crucial business functions, such as human resources, operations, public relations, and more, are covered by business continuity management, which goes beyond your IT department and related IT systems. At its most basic level, maintaining vital business operations or minimising disruption is the goal of developing a business continuity plan.
The goals and objectives that are most crucial to the way your organisation runs must be determined because every firm is unique. These objectives will direct your risk analysis, business continuity planning, and possible recovery options.
Assemble a team for emergency preparedness
Choose a few cross-functional managers or leaders, along with anyone else you can think of who might have anything to contribute. Make sure a person is chosen to serve as the group's leader so they can steer the group's progress and make choices as needed.
Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA) and risk assessment
The main possible dangers to your company should be identified here, and they should then be extensively researched and analysed. With the team, go over the repercussions of any necessary service or function reductions, modifications, or eliminations. Make sure to record every issue that has been found and its impact on the business.
List crucial e-commerce business operations
In the event of an emergency, you must decide how your organisation will continue to provide necessary services or perform necessary functions. The following are some of the crucial services and tasks that you must plan for.
Supply continuity and inventory management
Consider what occurs if there is a shortage of a particular product. Disasters like severe weather or pandemics frequently involve supply chain problems. Will you have enough supplies if there is an emergency? Have you got a system or tool for managing your inventory? Have you prepared for occasions when your inventory is low or nonexistent?
Shipment schedules and order fulfillment
Can you fulfill orders and satisfy shipping dates in the event of a crisis? Diversifying shipping companies could be beneficial. To determine whether a 3PL you use will be able to fulfil and dispatch orders in the event of a crisis, ask them about the actions they take to ensure business continuity.
Features of an e-commerce platform
Can you modify your e-commerce platform so that it displays out-of-stock items in case of emergency? Can you manage a surge in demand when the supply is significantly increased? Do you have reliable cybersecurity and complete data backups?
Providing continuing client service
Customers require honesty and compassion when a catastrophe occurs. For your marketing and communications teams as well as your customer service staff, you must establish a communications plan. To respond to client inquiries, you might need to hire more employees.
Each key task or service should have a plan
The various components that make up your e-commerce engine include:
Members of the team
Suppliers and contractors
These components all require their own individual plans. With your customers, how will you handle the situation? Do they alter their communication strategy when there is a disturbance that may also put their lives in danger? (For instance, as we manage pandemic circumstances, our customers are managing those conditions as well; we must be compassionate as well as knowledgeable in every engagement.)
To ensure that you don't run out of stock, will you be willing to move to a different supplier? What solutions are available to you in the event that your shipping partner is disrupted?
Verify that each business function has been taken into account by reviewing
Make sure to include every company function in your plan, but keep in mind that as you search for ways to function amid disruption, some may become more crucial. You should confirm that the following has been documented:
Risk level for the company.
Effect on staff and clients, and how you'll interact with them.
Establishing emergency policies.
In the case of a disaster, available financial resources.
Partners from outside organisations or the community who can collaborate with you for your mutual benefit.
Update the plan, test it, train the team, then test it again
Present the strategy to all of your stakeholders and advise being proactive by conducting trial runs to ensure that every aspect of the plan functions as it should. Any shortcomings or missing components will be easier to find this way. After making any necessary adjustments in light of the comments, start providing the necessary training to all staff members.
Never is anything certain. You might never experience a significant disruption to your business. However, the likelihood that you'll face your fair share of difficulties is just as good, if not better.
Start by completely understanding your level of risk and what has to be done to keep the firm operating. That by itself will provide you a competitive advantage and assist in reducing any associated financial risk.
Making your entire strategy will then allow you to sleep better at night. You will feel more at ease knowing that not everything will be lost in the event of a calamity after everyone in your company is completely at ease and trained on putting this plan into action.