Business Continuity

Have you considered preparing your business for an emergency that causes a lot of disruption? This could be anything from natural disasters to criminal activities. Having plans in place can help you recover much quicker should the worst happen, reducing the impact on your business.

Why do I need a business continuity plan?

There are lots of different reasons you might benefit from having plans in place. Such incidents that could affect your business include:

  • A fire.

  • Flooding.

  • Cyber attack/technology failures.

  • Severe weather.

  • Staff illness/pandemic.

  • Arson, theft, or vandalism.

  • Electric/gas supplies failures.

Ensuring arrangements are in place can be vital to recover quickly and continue to function following any disruption. We recommend that all businesses take the time to make a business continuity plan.

What should I think about first?

With so much to think about, it can be challenging to start putting together a business continuity plan. Here is a list of ideas you can use to get started on your own safeguarding measures:

  • Identify key products and services.

  • Assess your risks by carrying out a fire risk assessment.

  • Have a strategy in place in the event of one of those disruptions.

  • Implement your new strategy and train all staff so that they know it well.

  • Make a checklist of actions within the initial stages and beyond if the disruption to business is protracted.

  • Prepare an emergency pack with key contact details of staff and service providers both on site and digitally.

  • Contact the landlord.

  • Contact your insurer.

  • Enlist the help of legal advisors.

  • Locate all shut off points for utilities such as water and gas.

  • Obtain floor plans in case these are needed in the future.

Once you've covered these areas, you should have an effective pre-plan ahead of any operational interruptions.

Specific emergencies

Here are a few potential emergencies and some considerations that are relevant for each:

  1. Loss of premises - What if you could not gain access to the building do you have an alternative location to run business? What if you have temporarily suspend services? How would customers contact you? How would suppliers contact you? Have you thought about having electronic copies of key documents should the originals be destroyed by fire? Consider security of the site to prevent against arson, theft, or vandalism.

  2. Loss of staff/suppliers - What is the optimum number of staff you need to continue to function? Could you use agency workers? What about sourcing back-up suppliers?

  3. Loss of utilities - Do you have portable heaters, an electricity generator, and bottled water? Do you have a method in place to contact utility providers, so you can resume business as normal?

To find out more information about how to prepare for the unexpected, visit the Business Continuity Institute or the UK Government website [both links open in new tabs].