Take advantage of your quiet times in your business to put a business continuity plan in place. Your planning could make a big difference one day to your business, your employees and your customers, and it could be the deciding factor in saving your business after a disaster, a data breach, or even a mere power outage.

A Business Continuity Plan Is Like Any Other Business Strategy

Think about the amount of time you spend on other business strategies—marketing strategy, budget strategy, and a strategy for beating your competition. Yet so many businesses fail to spend any time on a disaster recovery and business continuity plan.

We all suffer from the “it won’t happen to me” syndrome. But think about the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the wildfires of California, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history in Las Vegas, and all the data breaches that impact large companies and small businesses. Whether it is a natural or man-made disaster, no one dreams they have to deal with events of those massive proportions.

But they do—and you might too.

One-third of businesses don’t have a disaster recovery policy in place. The figure is even higher for small businesses, estimated at 75 percent.

Where To Start

Work with every department across your business to get buy-in and to ensure that you are truly assessing every repercussion and impact of different possible disasters. Potential file loss, inability to provide services, and disgruntled customers are the most common and most worrisome repercussions.

Put clear plans in place about how you will work should a disaster arise. Does everyone know their part? Cover all scenarios—severe weather, natural disaster, computer hacking—cover it all.  Minimizing damages, maintaining services, and getting everything running back to normal again are the primary concerns. Do customers need to be notified? What processes can continue as normal? Are there steps that can maintain some normalcy? What systems have to be running normally again first? What must be done to get them running again?

Each employee needs to know what will happen and what role they will play.

Prioritize the most important processes to be started back up. Have systems in place to keep things running as smoothly as possible and minimize losses. Be sure to practice scenarios periodically.

Review Your Business Continuity Plan

It is important to review your disaster recovery plan from time to time. Does it still work? Do you need to tweak it?

We can’t emphasize practice enough. Giving each employee the ability to rehearse their role is crucial, as is your ability to witness how the whole team functions together during the simulation exercise.

Seek guidance and backup services from business continuity professionals who can walk you through the best plans and offer backup of files so you don’t have to worry about file loss.

Take advantage of the quiet times. Put the groundwork in place. It will mean that cooler heads will prevail during the more turbulent times.