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Business Continuity: Make Sure Your Venture Lasts Long-Term

by Olufisayo
Business Continuity

Whether you’re the owner of a startup or your business has been going for a while, it’s natural to get so busy with everyday operational tasks that you don’t find much time or energy to consider the future.

However, entrepreneurs must think about long-term needs and potential risks and developments if they want their venture to last for many years.

There are all sorts of potential disruptions that could cause havoc for your organization, such as natural disasters, cyberattacks, public relations crises, loss of vital employees or suppliers, legal changes, and more. Plus, it’s not something we ever want to think about, but what would happen to your venture if something happened to you or fellow business leaders?

As such, all business owners need to spend time learning about and implementing business continuity management plans. Here is the lowdown on this area, plus tips for shoring up your venture against risks.

Understanding the Concept of Business Continuity

First, get clear about what business continuity refers to. Basically, it’s how an organization plans to continue to deliver its offerings at pre-defined levels after a disruptive incident happens. Disasters can occur no matter how well we manage risk, so it’s necessary to plan for ways to mitigate negative setbacks when issues arise.

To develop a business continuity management strategy, create plans and actions that will reduce the chances your venture can’t deliver its wares if the worst happens. Also, set up alternative operational strategies for activities or processes which, if interrupted, can damage the organization significantly or even beyond repair.

Business continuity isn’t just for firms operating in riskier sectors or locations. While the size of your company may affect how complex your planning needs to be, every venture should focus on continuity management, even the small startup ones.

Start with Analyzing Your Company’s Key Functions and Processes

Once you’re ready to begin, start by analyzing your operation’s key functions and processes. What are the most crucial factors that keep your business going, day in and day out? Focus on a core list of ‘Ps.’ That is, think about processes, people, performance, preparation, providers, premises, and your business profile. After identifying the relevant elements, you’ll have a much better idea of what you must methodically work towards when minimizing threats.

Identify the Main Vulnerabilities

The next step is to determine the main vulnerabilities your company faces. Consider the various weak spots that cybercriminals might attack and the data most at risk if they crashed systems, or if for some other reason your website or servers went down. What about your suppliers? Is there a risk of them going under or not adhering to the continuity plans you develop? How will procurement be affected if the worse happens?

The vulnerabilities are different for each business, so you’ll need to think about yours carefully to evaluate what could be a problem. Conduct a risk assessment for every part of your operations, and you’ll have a good idea about what to change or plan for ASAP.

Document and Communicate Your Plans

An essential part of business continuity is agreeing on plans with your partners, board members, or other relevant stakeholders, then documenting each detail in writing clearly and precisely. You need to have every step noted down so others can access it if and when the time comes.

Be sure to share your continuity document(s) with all of your team members and anyone else who needs to see the details, so everyone is clear on what they have to do if an emergency arises. It pays to utilize tech tools to store and manage information in the cloud, too, for easy access anytime, anywhere.

Train Your Staff and Test Out Scenarios

Another aspect of continuity management is training your staff so they won’t hesitate or make too many errors if a problem arises. It helps to test them by running mock scenarios to see how well each part of your plan works and if employees and other key contacts can action it appropriately.

Teach team members any relevant skills or knowledge they need to know to handle the tasks that form part of continuity planning. For instance, train people how to locate and access information, such as contact details. Employees may also need to understand which assets to grab in a hurry and how to use additional software programs.

It might sound a bit scary thinking about all the things that could go wrong, but it’s better to face up to potential downsides now than to deal with horrible consequences later on with no clue how best to proceed. Follow these tips to increase the likelihood that your business stays around long-term, no matter what issues might arise.

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