Has your business got a recovery plan?
By Andrea Bradley
The importance of planning ahead for the unexpected.
In light of the recent spate of natural disasters, it is critical to look at how you and your business would recover if it happened to you.
What would happen if a key person is unavailable?
What would happen if a flood or fire ravaged your business premises?
How quickly could you rebuild your business?
Developing a recovery plan gives you a chance to consider how you will get your business back on track if you do experience a crisis. A
recovery plan should include the following:
- Strategies to recover your business activities in the quickest possible time
- A description of key resources, equipment and staff required to recover your operations
- A checklist you can use after a crisis has passed and it is safe to return to your premises
Designate a recovery team
Nominate staff to be part of a recovery team, assign backups and ensure that all are aware of their roles and functions in the recovery
Ensure that more than one person knows how to do a certain task and you don’t risk losing essential skills or knowledge if something happens
to one of your staff members.
- Make sure your team can use manual processes in case your equipment or machinery is damaged.
If you deal with hazardous materials, special equipment, or in risky environments, you may need to provide training for your staff so they
can do their jobs safely and respond after an incident.
Review your emergency kit and contact lists
Develop an emergency kit that includes key documents that will be essential for recovery. Make sure the emergency kit is stored safely and
off-site in case your premises are unreachable in a crisis.
Put together contact lists of all people who may be affected by a crisis, including staff, customers, suppliers and your insurance company.
- Record contact details of people who can fix your equipment, machinery and systems if they are damaged.
Maintain external communications
Keep the lines of communication open with your customers, suppliers and other stakeholders such as business partners. Make sure that you
have contact lists of all people who may be affected by the incident. Effective and timely communication will create and build the
perception that your business is under control, that you know and understand what is happening, and that the situation will be resolved.
Identify alternative suppliers, facilities and equipment
- Develop relationships with more than one supplier, so that if one is affected by an incident your business can continue as usual.
Establish a disaster recovery location where you and your staff can work off-site, if necessary, and will be able to access critical backup
systems, records and supplies.
- Determine which assets (including documents) are essential for recovery and therefore require protection.
Be prepared for the possibility of broken or damaged equipment, machinery and systems. Know who can fix them and have their contact details
Factor in disruptions to electricity, gas, water, sewerage and telecommunications systems. Work out what backup systems or alternatives are
Keep your business operating
Be prepared for cash flow emergencies. Ensure you have access to cash or finance to support your business in the event of a disaster which
could significantly decrease your reserve and increase your costs.
- Assess the impact of the crisis on your business and consider a range of business strategies to keep your business operating.
- Consider doing business online as this may allow you to operate even if your premises are damaged.
It is important to remember that, as much as we all don’t want to consider that a disaster can happen to us, it is reality and it does
happen so it is better to be prepared, even if it never happens.