The main purpose of a business continuity program is to help respond to and recover from a disaster. However, there are elements of a business continuity program which provide an every-day benefit, if utilized properly.

Threat Assessment

When it comes to expense and capital spending, knowing what threatens your business can help ensure you measure the appropriate amount of risk against the benefits of taking certain actions such as physical or product expansion. For example, if your power needs are already threatened, consider how expanding your dependency on electricity by bringing in additional equipment could increase your already substantial risk.

Succession Plan

A succession plan can double as a career pathing process within your company and also encourage cross training for critical functions.

Standard Operating Procedures

SOP's are perhaps the most versatile aspect of business continuity planning. Most companies will already have documented procedures on how to perform each job function by the time they get around to building a resiliency program. SOP's are instruction manuals for employee's and should be designed as such. SOP's should list dependencies on equipment and training, qualifications, and detailed step-by-step instructions on each job function. They can be broken down into sub-functions or, for a small company offering one product or service, a single SOP may be all that you need and easier to maintain. SOP's can be used to:

  • Train/onboarding new employees - an SOP is an instruction manual for a job. So...use it as such
  • Complete performance evaluations - simply take each major section of the SOP, list them and provide commentary on how well each function or sub-function is performed
  • Cross training - Ensure you have at least 2 people trained on each critical job function. This will help your company sustain itself should you encounter staff challenges
  • Quality control - If you don't make it crystal clear how the job is to be performed, how can you address low quality? Adjust your SOP's accordingly if necessary and MEASURE the Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
  • Speaking of Key Performance Indicators - KPI's will jump out of an effective and quality SOP. Identify them, measure them and report on them weekly or monthly and SHARE them with all of your employees.

Supplier Assessment

When reviewing your suppliers, you may realize that you have an unbalanced dependency on a particular supplier. If that is the case, you may want to dedicate time to researching alternate suppliers. You may find that another supplier is more stable at the same or even better cost than your current supplier.

Review and Training

Conducting table top “war game” exercises with your staff can help uncover inefficiencies in your organization and may cause you to consider process elimination or restructuring of staff or processes.

For many companies, developing a business continuity plan is a one time occurrence. If you struggle to justify the time and expense in developing and maintain a continuity program, consider that a quality and comprehensive program can offer many tangible benefits beyond being prepared for some unkown future crisis, more than justifying the investment.

"If you are failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."-Benjamin Franklin

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