What Is a Business Continuity Plan?

Group of business people planning.

A business continuity plan is a comprehensive written strategy outlining how your business will continue to operate in the event of an emergency. Continue reading to learn all about business continuity plans and why every business should have one.

Purpose of a Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan is a set of procedures that a business puts in place to help ensure the continuation of its operations in case of emergencies. It is designed to help minimize loss and damage caused by disruptions.

The main purpose of a business continuity plan is to ensure that businesses are able to retain their normal operations during times of crisis.

A business continuity plan is similar to an emergency preparedness plan that you would put in place for your home. You would want to make sure that you are able to prepare for any worst-case scenario. Business continuity planning also includes strategies like disaster mitigation, backup, and recovery planning.

Benefits of a Business Continuity Plan

Business continuity is important for companies that want to conduct their operations smoothly. Not all companies understand the importance of business continuity plans. However, those that actively plan for interruptions and disasters stand a better chance of dealing with a difficult situation without being harmed or damaged too much.

Benefits of business continuity plans include:

  • Prevention of system crashes and decreased downtime
  • Avoidance of unplanned downtimes and related financial loss
  • Assurance that you can execute business operations even during disruptions
  • Reduction and prevention of unnecessary risks

Key Components of a Business Continuity Plan

Business continuity plans are set in place to ensure organizations continue their operations in the event of an emergency. Business continuity plans are essential for day-to-day operations, but they also work to prepare for large-scale emergencies.

You can break down a business continuity plan into five key components:

  1. Recognize risks and threats
  2. Identify resources and support systems
  3. Prepare a plan of action in the event of a crisis or disaster
  4. Understand how different departments will respond during a crisis/disaster and how to coordinate response efforts with them effectively
  5. Establish a plan for recovery from an emergency or disaster

How to Create a Business Continuity Plan

Business continuity plans are important in the event of any unforeseen circumstances. Creating them requires some planning but isn’t a difficult task.

Follow these steps to create a business continuity plan:

  1. Identify critical information that needs to be stored. This includes information that is needed for day-to-day operations like employee rosters, customer data, company policies and procedures, and more.
  2. Establish contact lists for all employees, if needed.
  3. Create a backup plan for your critical information — this is where you decide what would happen in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster.
  4. Communicate the plan regularly with those who need to know.

Should I Create a Business Continuity Plan for My Business?

Some businesses may assume that adversity will not strike their company, but this is a dangerous mindset to have. Companies of all sizes can be affected by unexpected incidents that can cause damage to their business activity or their customers.

In short, because all businesses are at risk of disaster, all businesses should create and implement a business continuity plan. Not only will your plan help protect your business from unexpected issues, but it will also provide clear communication between you, your employees, your clients, and your customers.

The better your business continuity plan, the faster your company can get back to business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of companies use a business continuity plan?

All types of companies use a business continuity plan. Restaurants may have one in place for natural disasters. Technology companies may have one in place for data breaches or power outages.

Is a disaster recovery plan different from a business continuity plan?

A disaster recovery plan is a major section housed within a business continuity plan. It covers protocols to follow in the event of a disaster. A business continuity plan identifies threats and the likelihood a threat could happen, describes what to do if they happen, and houses important emergency contacts of people to contact in case of an emergency or disaster.

When should I create a business continuity plan?

The best time to create a business continuity is before an emergency or disaster happens. Taking time to plan now can prevent you from making planning mistakes later when under duress, stress, and threat. In essence, the best time to create a business continuity plan is now.