Starting a business is one thing. Keeping it going is another.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 20% of new businesses fail during their first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.
Keeping your business afloat takes work. If you want yours to stand the test of time, you must invest in business continuity planning.
What is business continuity?
Business continuity is the ability to keep your business open and running after an emergency or disruption. It’s the ability to maintain core business functions, no matter what happens.
Threats to your business that require you to take business continuity seriously include:
- Global pandemics
- Power outages
- Natural disasters
To protect against such threats, you must invest in different business continuity measures. Here are five to consider:
- Assemble a business continuity team
First, create a business continuity team.
Ideally, you should assign a member from each department in the company to serve in the business continuity team. This gives each department a voice and helps your business address threats from all sectors: finance, HR, customer support, and so on.
Appoint a business continuity manager to lead the group.
Then create a list of all the business continuity team members (the size of the team will vary based on the size of the company) and then define each member’s role.
- Identify the risks that your business faces
Now it’s time to identify the risks that your business faces. These could include threats to its financial performance, supply chains, employees, and more.
Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA) to uncover any vulnerabilities. You may try using a BIA questionnaire template to get started.
- Develop a business continuity plan (BCP)
At this point, you’re ready to create a business continuity plan (BCP). This revolves around one primary question: What will your business do in worst-case scenarios?
Address every risk to every business function and lay out a plan for how you will respond. Empower your business continuity team by providing them with the necessary tools and automations to do a good job.
- Regularly test and adjust your business continuity plan
Once you have your business continuity plan (BCP) in place, the job is not done.
You must now regularly test and reevaluate the plan to make sure it stays current with the latest threats. Establish standard processes for updating the BCP and determine how updates will be communicated throughout the company. Make changes as needed.
Business risks and vulnerabilities change all the time, so a BCP is never truly finished.
- Take proactive measures to prevent downtime
Lastly, take proactive measures to prevent business downtime.
The less downtime your business experiences, the less likely it is to shut down. Plus, downtime can cost you a lot in revenue and damage your business relationships with partners and clients.
To help prevent business downtime, implement effective data backup and recovery strategies (e.g. via a cloud backup solution). That way, you can get your business up and running again quickly if your data ever gets lost, damaged, or stolen.
The bottom line
At the end of the day, most businesses can’t afford to get caught off guard by a business threat. They need to be prepared.
So follow the business continuity strategies listed above and have a response plan for every conceivable scenario. Then your business will be much more likely to survive setbacks and disasters.