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A business continuity strategy is a plan you write and put into place as a guide for running the business in the wake of a disaster. In other words, if a disaster such as a flood, earthquake or hurricane hits your area, the business continuity strategy is the plan in place so that business operations can continue and you know how to go about performing disaster recovery. Creating the plan entails more than simply putting an insurance policy in place.
The first step in putting together the plan is to perform a risk management analysis, which is an assessment of the types of risks that may affect your ability to continue to run the business. A risk is anything that may prevent the business from running and delivering the products and services it offers its customers. For example, the plan should include ways you can still produce and deliver your products and services without access to technology, all your employees or if you do not have a specific machine or piece of equipment.
As you list out each risk, also include how you plan to overcome the challenge or manage the risk. For example, if you lose power in a storm, and one of your machines goes down, determine how you will manage the task the machine performs manually instead. Each risk will have its own set of circumstances that will need to be planned for.
If your business kitchen has a hot plate for employees to use, this is another risk, a risk for a fire to start in your business. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) cites fire as the number one risk to companies. In order to fully assess all of the risks for your business, you should talk with the local FEMA in your area. you should also talk with emergency agencies such as the fire department, police department and insurance agents. All of these professionals can help you assess dangers that you may not otherwise recognize, so you can prepare a business continuity strategy for each risk.
Next, you want to prepare a plan to communicate and alert your customers or clients if your normal business operations are interrupted. This may include keeping an up-to-date and printed list of your top clients, along with their telephone numbers and email addresses. This allows you to contact them and prepare them with your contingency plan in the case the business operations are halted or delayed.
Your business continuity strategy should also include the titles of your critical employees. While your business may not be able to operate at full capacity if half of your employees cannot make it to work after a hurricane, specific employees are a necessity to operate. The list of critical employees should cover the different areas of the company that are required to run the business operations in the interim and until the business is running again at full capacity.
When you are creating a business continuity strategy, you should cover all the bases. The best way to do this is by creating several different options or alternatives for each risk. For example, if one of your machines is flooded after flooding in the area, one alternative is to perform the functions of the machine manually and the other alternative is to use an older machine that performs a similar function.