Business guide to Coronavirus

What is a business continuity plan?

Unexpected or unforeseen change impacts all businesses. It can disrupt or even make or break a small business. Having a business continuity plan in place can save time in the long run.

What’s in a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan contains the information you need to get a business running again after an incident or crisis. It is normally linked with a business plan.

The size and complexity of a business continuity plan will depend on each business and will often include:

  • A risk management plan: identifying and assessing critical business activities and plans to eliminate or minimise the impact.
  • An incident response plan: containing the information of when to use the plan, the incident response team, a contact list and planned communication before, during and after the incident or crisis
  • A recovery plan: including the steps required to get the business operating again.

A business continuity plan is a plan to get the business back to ‘normal’ operations. However, the coronavirus pandemic is new territory as it’s had far-reaching impacts to business operations, including cash flow, maintaining employees, temporarily closing the business, quick transitions to working from home and technology issues.

Businesses are not only trying to recover but many are defining a new ‘normal’ operating model to survive as well. 

With many businesses implementing incidence plans throughout the coronavirus pandemic it’s important to continually evaluate how the plans are working. Any changes should be incorporated into the business continuity plan.

What are some business incidents to plan for?

It may not be possible to predict every kind of risk or incident that could impact a business, but a plan can be developed that covers a range of incidents. Some examples of incidents that can occur either individually or several at once are: 

  • technology: computer network failures, cybersecurity, hardware failure or problems associated with using outdated equipment
  • work health and safety: accidents caused by the materials, equipment, or location of your work
  • natural disasters: floods, storms, bushfires or drought
  • pandemics: coronavirus (COVID-19), swine flu or bird flu
  • economic and financial: global financial events, interest rate increases, cash flow shortages, customers not paying, rapid growth or rising costs
  • employees: industrial relations issues, human error, conflict management or difficulty filling vacancies
  • suppliers: failure or interruptions to your supply chain for products or raw materials.

 

Siobhann Provost

Senior Writer, Business Australia

Siobhann has over 18 years human resources business partnering experience in large organisations. She more recently established and led a people advice team of senior workplace advisors before moving into content writing.

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