How to Create a Business Continuity Plan for a Small Business

29 Jan

Many organisations take out insurance policies to deal with loses incurred by the business during a disruption to its services caused by internal or external forces. If a organisation adopts a business continuity plan it can cost very little or virtually nothing to implement. It outlines how an employee can keep working in the event of a disaster.

Below are a few steps which can be used to implement a Business Continuity Plan

1. Identify key staff and potential backup staff.This identifies the essential employees that are needed to run the business efficiently and who are critical to everyday functions of the business

  • Consider which job functions are critically necessary, every day. Think about who fills those positions when the primary job-holder is on vacation. Identify back up staff that are accessible and can fill the positions of the critical staff in the event that one of them are out sick, on holidays etc.
  • Gather information from the critical staff so that they can be contactable ona 24 hour basis in the event of an emergency

2. Discover if staff can work from home. Explore which staff have the infrastructure such as computers, broadband to work from home.

3. Identify critical external contacts. Identify key customers and vendors and complete a contact list which includes essential about the external contact and also contact information

  • The contact list should include IT consultant, landlord of premises, solicitor etc.

4. Identify essential equipment. Make sure there is a back-up system in place such as RAID in the event of a disaster or emergency. Also back up generators and hardware should be ready to use in the event there is a computer failure or power failure

  • Some organisations need essential hardware to function such as storage devices.
  • Specialised software can be critical if it is only installed on one machine. Installation a few machines will counteract this problem.

5. Identify Essential Documents. Documents regarding employee information, premises lease, tax papers, legal issues etc. should be duplicated and stored off site in the event of a fire or natural disaster. The business should be able to set up again.

6. Identify contingency options in the event of failure. Discover what outsourcing options are available in the event that an essential function of the organisation becomes inoperable. For example if newspaper company produces its own paper, where would it source a paper company

7. Identify your temporary location. This is the place you will conduct business while your primary offices are unavailable.

8. Create a list of responsibilities for implementation of BCP. This should identify which employee does what and how. Such as person who should phone the fire brigade, this person could be appointed as the Fire Safety Officer

9. Combine the information. A document should be prepared outlining all the remedies in the event of a BCP been implemented and should be easily accessible in a identified location. Duplicate copies should be distributed to employees and also digitally and in an off-site location.

10. Hold staff meetings. Every employee should be made aware of the BCP and should be reminded of it on a regular basis.

11. Practice the BCP. Just like in school you would practice a fire drill. A organisation should be no different. Test the BCP and put it into action sop that if the day arrives that it needs to be implemented then at least you have practice runs completed.

12. Amend the plan if changes are needed. An organisation is always evolving. New hardware, technology, expanding. Keep the plan up to date and modify. Then hold staff meetings to inform staff of the changes. Then practice the BCP again.


This plan will help a small business minimise the disruption caused by a disaster to the company. By implementing this plan an organisation should still be able to operate with minimal disruption. What do people think of this plan? Are there any flaws identifiable with this BCP?



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