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Business continuity plan template 2024

Have you thought about your business continuity?

It is imperative that business owners and leaders plan for any unexpected or sudden circumstances should something happen to them or one of their employees. This is where a business continuity plan template comes in.

Without wanting to sound sombre, if a key player in your business was to die or be unable to work, what would happen to your business? What happens to the key tasks you or they perform?

How can you ensure any internal circumstances don’t affect your customers, stakeholders, profitability, and growth?

As a result, business continuity planning is so important, and we’ve put together this guide and template so you can approach your business continuity in the best way.

This guide covers the following:

  • What is a business continuity plan?
  • Who needs a business continuity plan?
  • Benefits of having a business continuity plan
  • A business continuity plan template: step-by-step (including a free template download).

What is a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan is an outlined process detailing all the business operations that must continue should an unexpected circumstance arise.

It should include which functions of the business are the highest priority and detail how, quite often, those functions will be maintained through written procedures.

Succession planning is also considered a branch of business continuity.

The ultimate objective of a business continuity plan is to achieve these three things in the event of something unexpected:

  • That the business continues without interruption to the customer or client base
  • That the income of the business owner and employees is protected
  • That this can be achieved without a duplication of work or a big cost incurred

 

Who needs a business continuity plan?

If you own a business or are a senior leader in one, you need a business continuity plan. Every business does.

Why don’t most businesses have a business continuity plan?

Quite often, it's because it never seems important enough. It is only when something happens that directors often realise the importance of one.

Just take the last few years as an example. The COVID pandemic caught all businesses off-guard, but those who survived and still thrived will most likely have had some sort of business continuity framework to follow to adapt and pivot their business around the ever-changing circumstances to staff availability, working patterns and supply chains.

Myth-busting around business continuity

It's scary that 50% of UK small businesses don’t have a business continuity plan.

Here are a few common objections from business leaders and the reasons why they can’t be justified:

  • “I’m too busy.” – The process doesn’t take long. Have a look at our step-by-step.
  • “I don’t know where to start.” – It’s an easy process, and you probably just need a basic framework. Our step-by-step guide and our free business continuity template will help.
  • “It will cost a lot.” – It doesn’t have to cost anything to put the actual plan together, it’s your decision on how you do that, whether that’s with external help or not.

A question: can you afford not to have a plan?

Benefits of having a business continuity plan

Most of the benefits of a business continuity plan probably go without saying, but here’s a reminder:

  • It’ll give you peace of mind that you’re protecting your business
  • By having a plan and maintaining key functions, your customer confidence won’t be affected
  • Your staff will have higher morale, leading to improved performance
  • Stakeholders and investors will be reassured

A business continuity plan template: step-by-step

Without any further ado, let’s dive into our step-by-step guide for a business continuity plan. To accompany this, make sure to download our business continuity plan template document.

Step 1: Identify and assess risks

In a similar way to a SWOT analysis, when looking to evaluate the risks to your business, you need to make a note of the following:

  • All the potential risks or threats to your business
  • How are those risks currently controlled
  • How could those risks be controlled in the event the current process isn’t possible
  • The likelihood of those risks occurring
  • The impact would the risk have on the business if they did

Step 2: Evaluate and prioritise

Once you have identified the risks and threats, evaluate which are your highest priority threats.

You can do this by using two tools:

  • A visual risk map
  • An evaluation grid

Both are available to use in our downloadable business continuity template.

Business continuity

Step 3: Plan and action

Next is bringing together the plan.

This doesn’t just involve you; every department and business function needs to create an internal plan addressing their key processes so that there’s minimal disruption to the business if their department is affected.

Put together a business continuity team, which includes the key personnel from each department or function.

For each of your highest priority threats:

  • Decide on your goals; what is the acceptable level of performance in the event of an incident?
  • Strategies and processes; how will you achieve those goals?
  • A clear action plan before, during and after any incident
  • Who is responsible for this high-priority threat? Who is responsible, should the other be out of work?

When it comes to the planning stage, there are loads of online resources available such as our guide on how to protect your business and through organisations like The Business Continuity Institute.

Plus, having an advisory board or a business coach with experience in this area will guide you to ensure you don’t miss any crucial elements of your business continuity plan.

Step 4: Monitor and review

Of course, your business will change and grow as time goes on. An important part of business growth is continually monitoring and reviewing your processes; business continuity is no exception.

Make sure to schedule regular reviews with your team, and if you recruit new staff, make business continuity planning part of their post-induction period. By reviewing the plan, you can identify any gaps or areas that could need further processing.

….

We hope you’ve found this article useful, and don’t forget to check out our free business continuity template document. By creating an effective business continuity plan, you can sleep easily at night, knowing that your business will be safe if disaster strikes.

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