Ah, the novel coronavirus that has millions of people around the world staying home, wearing masks, and finding a new sense of normalcy. It’s brought some unfortunate circumstances for businesses around the globe. With the majority of individuals required to stay home, businesses may be left unattended.
For business owners, the impact of this virus can be incredibly damaging. That is unless you were prepared! Wait – you are probably wondering how in the world you were supposed to know that things would get this bad, aren’t you? The world today is surely unlike any other time we have ever known.
Even if you had a plan in place for things like a natural disaster or a simple power outage, it likely didn’t cover you for the vast extent of the current situation. In other words, there’s a good chance your business continuity plan was not designed to handle the coronavirus crisis.
What Is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?
Before we move on, we should take a moment to discuss what it is. In short, a business continuity plan is put in place to keep business running in the event that it gets disrupted. A formal procedure with detailed instructions is created for a business to follow during certain instances where the course of normal business cannot be followed.
So, why do you need one? Because emergencies happen. Unexpected events happen. Nature happens. And, well, the coronavirus happens! Anytime something occurs that can change the way your business operates, it will have an impact on your business.
However, if you have a business continuity plan in place, then you know the steps that need to be taken to continue working and ensure the success of your business despite adversity. Keep in mind, though, the level of success you reach is dependent on how prepared you are.
Key Factors of a Business Continuity Plan
A business continuity plan won’t be much of a plan if you don’t include the key factors that will get you through:
Take the time to determine how a disaster (or international health crisis) may impact your business. These will include the financial as well as the operational impacts. Analyze where these impacts may affect your business so that you can know the areas you’ll need to address in your plan.
What steps will you be able to take to keep your business running if the above areas are impacted?
It won’t do any good if you do all the planning and analysis, but don’t keep any organizational structure to it. Think about it – your business has an organizational structure for its daily operations. Who will handle the emergency plan? In what capacity? Develop a team and have it ready to roll should you need it.
If you solidify your business continuity plan and put it aside until it is needed, it may be sitting dormant for many years. Then, what happens? A crisis like the one we are facing today arises and your company scrambles to try to put it into place. You need to create your plan and practice it. That way, when the need arises, you are ready to move forward without delay.
Test the Plan, Plan the Test
Knowing you have a solid business continuity plan in place should you need it can greatly reduce stress in moments of crises – especially if that plan is ready to go with a moment’s notice. When you test your continuity plan, you are looking:
- For the strong ability to be able to reduce operational downtime. Your plan should allow you to smoothly move from regular operation to emergency without any hiccups.
- To retain the competitive advantage. When your customers can’t reach you, they will go elsewhere. Be prepared and be available no matter what.
- For the best, most updated methods available. Seek expert advice if needed. Remember, technology is always changing so your plan should, too.
When Disaster Strikes: The Coronavirus Crisis
All of this brings us to today – to the incredible impact that the coronavirus crisis is having on our economy. Has your business been affected? Were you prepared? Most business owners have a plan. It may not have all the key aspects and it may not have been set in stone and practiced regularly. But, it is a plan.
As our normal operations have been completely uprooted, the key is to discover just how well your plan is going to suit your company – and how minimal the damage will be when all is said and done. And, well, honestly – if you find yourself in a sticky situation because the demands of this worldwide crisis were too strong for your continuity plan, it may not be too late.
Importance of Stress-Testing Your BCP
If your business doesn’t initially pass the stress-test, don’t fret. There may still be something you can do. Sure, being prepared from the get-go can reduce impact, but when it comes to saving your business, it’s better to be late than never:
- If your employees are not set up to operate from home, don’t leave your work completely untouched. Reach out to a virtual assistant company who is set up to work from home and can assist with a variety of tasks.
- Make sure all of your calls are answered. Even if your production line is down – be there for your customers when they call. If you can’t do this, hire a virtual receptionist.
Our online world has a fully functional backup system for you – and this is what will help your business pass the stress-test. Our country will get back to work – and things will come together soon enough. If you have faced this coronavirus without a business continuity plan, you may have taken a hard hit.
But, here’s the good news: now you know the importance of having a plan and will be better prepared for anything that may come your way in the future, right? In fact, it is not too late to take steps now to protect your business.