Irrespective of the firm size, business uncertainty is something that every business faces at one point or the other. There are certain situations that do not go as you had expected, making your previously planned strategies less impactful. This is the reason having a business continuity plan is crucial; outlining procedures for preventing damage, maintaining productivity, and recovering during the times of a disaster or a national emergency.
Before you create a plan like this, you must identify every possible threat such as fires, social engineering attacks, utility disruptions, and more. Then think proactively as to how employees can help get the business back to its normality.
Table of Contents
- 1 7 Business Continuity Tips against Uncertainties
7 Business Continuity Tips against Uncertainties
Create a Plan
- Firstly, think of all the possible business threats like fire, tornado, earthquake, hurricane, server crash, theft, data breach, human error, including the pandemic.
- Figure out the ways your business can or/and should tackle every threat. Recognize particular situations that make plans rolling during the time your business faces a threat. Take into consideration everyday “scenario exercises” for testing the effectiveness of your plan and ensuring its timely update.
- Make a “No Warning” plan for scenarios with no warning.
- Engage your team to create and document your continuity plan and converse every update to the situation or plan instantly.
Recognize the Plan Objectives and Set Goals
The initial step is to recognize the business continuity plan’s objectives and set related goals. Listed below are a few BCP example inclusions:
- The detailing and practice of the plan
- The departments covering the plan
- The successful plan outcomes
- The milestones to track
One vital factor is the continuity plan budget. Include research hours and any preparation, training time/materials, and more while creating this plan.
Recognize Key Business Areas/Critical Functions
For the best plan preparation and execution, it is vital to understand the core needs of the business. For this, recognizing critical business processes must be recognized since they will be the ones that have the potential to do maximum damage to the business during uncertainties.
This can be in the form of a firm’s ability to operate adequately, harm to the business reputation, or revenue loss. You must examine every single aspect and classify the same as a low, medium, or high and prepare strategies for each one to minimize or eliminate their impact in the future.
Try to Ensure Positive Cash Flow
Positive cash flow is the soul of a business as no firm can operate if it is not having regular adequate cash in place. During tough times of uncertainty, consider keeping cash flow management as the top priority instead of profitability. Look for ways to make sure you receive timely payments, and if possible, ask for advance payment from clients and minimize credits as much as possible.
Apart from this, make your accounts receivable process strong as it can facilitate positive cash flow. Also, pay close attention to payments of the supplier and try to avoid payment delays to avoid any late fees. Requesting suppliers for extending due dates or payment terms should also be considered. If you have good relationships with them, this should not be a problem.
Work on Employee Awareness
Employees form the biggest asset of the company, and it is imperative that the management makes them aware of every possible business or physical threat like an epidemic. A ready-to-refer guide highlighting important instructions should be provided by the human resource department to the employees. This also includes sticking informational posters on the emails, walls, chat groups, along with the use of videos and infographics to spread the word.
Just as alcohol-based hand sanitizers, face masks, and maintaining good personal hygiene is essential in times of a pandemic such as COVID-19, employees should be made aware of essential steps to follow during other specific business uncertainties.
Communicate with Customers
Your customers are the reasons you are standing where you are standing today. You must clearly communicate with your customers, explaining and assuring them of uninterrupted services. Leverage your mobile app, website, social media channels to reach and interact with customers as much as you can.
There are times when a firm needs to work remotely or opt for virtual bookkeeping services during unavailability of skilled accounting workforce. In such scenarios, a detailed information-sharing strategy should be prepared that clearly states that no compromise on service quality would be made.
Identify any Dependencies or Pain Points
It is always better to plan things in advance, especially when it comes to getting prepared against uncertainties. One good approach is obviously to understand the pain points and look for appropriate solutions to address the issues at the earliest. The other approach involves recognizing problems that could come up in the future.
If any function or department has time-sensitive stipulations, you must monitor the downtime that is tolerable. For key business functions, use the rating system in order to understand the places where the right resources can be allocated.
It is almost impossible to have a full-proof plan in order to deal with any uncertainty in the future, but yes, there are ways to minimize the damage or tackle the situation in a better way by planning things in advance. Every business faces this tough situation at one point or the other. However, one must not delay planning for the same in advance, and this is even more important if you are a start-up.
The reason being when you are starting a business, you are too much occupied in dealing with a plethora of things and often neglect to work on a business continuity plan for staying strong during uncertain times since there appears no need for the same initially.
However, one must understand that having an emergency plan in place will help your new endeavors to flourish with the passing of time, but everything can come down to zero if one does not have a plan of action in place.