Disruption and disasters can strike any business at any time. Developing a good business continuity plan can help you prepare and protect your business from events that could potentially create a setback. A good plan can help you continue operating your business through uncertain times and be better prepared to handle situations that occur from natural disasters, pandemics, cybersecurity attacks and more. Read on for our best advice to protect your business and your employees.
What is a business continuity plan?
A business continuity plan outlines potential disasters that could impact your business, then details the steps that owners or employees can follow to navigate through setbacks and continue earning revenue.
When you think through the various setbacks that might impact your business it can be challenging but taking the time to create a continuity plan can make you and your business more resilient.
Why do you need a business continuity plan?
A business continuity plan will prepare you for disasters that impact your business, allowing you to maintain core business functions. Use these three steps to help you prepare your business.
Step #1: Review your goals and objectives for your business and outline critical tasks.
Critical tasks are actions that must be completed to keep your business running, such as making scheduled shipments, maintaining customer files or keeping necessary machinery in operation.
Step #2: Think through all scenarios that could threaten your business operations and ability to generate revenue.
Here’s a list to get you started:
- Natural disasters
- Severe winter weather
- Internet/software/hardware loss
- Software breach/loss
- Hardware loss
- Key persons
- Loss/illness of key staff members
- Workplace safety
- Workplace violence
- Facility loss
- Interior fire
- Power outage
- Loss of utilities (water, gas, electric, etc.)
- Loss of premises
- Supply chain interruptions
- Remote workplace loss
Step #3: Record a plan and instructions for each scenario.
An action plan — Think through how you will keep your business’s critical operations from shutting down, or how you will reduce downtime of these operations. This could include instructions on how to recover physical and/or digital assets, or how you might alter a budget or cash flow to stay afloat.
Incident report instructions — This could include emergency services such as a local fire department, or suppliers, utility companies, local media and more.
Communication plan — During a business interruption or disaster, it’s important to connect with employees, customers, suppliers and vendors. Think through each possible scenario and record if, how and when you will communicate to your business’s key stakeholders.
Your business continuity plan should also include contact information for key employees, vendors, contractors and any other key internal or external associates of your business. Make sure that relevant contact information is readily accessible in case an emergency or natural disaster occurs.
We believe creating a continuity plan is vital for your business, so we want to help make it as easy as possible for you. Here are some of the best online resources available to assist you with creating your own continuity plan:
- Create your company’s plan with the OFB-EZ toolkit, available for download on Nationwide’s mylosscontrolservices.com
- Download extensive toolkits for specific scenarios at ready.gov/business
- View the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Small Business Recovery Expanded Guide, which has a list of recovery resources
We want you to stay in business
Once you’ve created a continuity plan for your business, we recommend you discuss the plan with your insurance agent or carrier. They can help analyze risk and determine additional coverage options which can help ensure that your business carries on for years to come. Get in touch with a Nationwide agent or get a business insurance quote today.
The information contained in this blog was obtained from sources believed to be reliable to help users address their own risk management and insurance needs. It does not and is not intended to provide legal advice. Nationwide, its affiliates and employees do not guarantee improved results based upon the information contained herein and assume no liability in connection with the information or the provided suggestions. The recommendations provided are general in nature; unique circumstances may not warrant or require implementation of some or all of the suggestions. Nothing in this brochure is intended to imply a grant of coverage.