Since there are volumes of books on business continuity planning, this will probably be a running series. To start with, let’s look at a little bit about small business continuity planning.
Small business continuity of operations planning (pick whatever words you want to come up with what you have heard before…they are all out there) is much different than it is for larger companies. There are some similarities, but small business are typically much more limited on their resources. This makes BCP (business continuity planning) for small businesses much harder. The general idea behind BCP is to be able to maintain operations despite events that occur that are outside of the norm. There are arguments over what is normal or what is not, but I argue that planning for even normal conditions is part of BCP. For example, knowing that Oct-Dec are peak retail months will help retail businesses coordinate activities that optimize their profit while that same information will help service-based businesses that are slower that month also plan accordingly.
How does BCP work for small business?
This question will vary based on the size of your business, but planning for unknown events is very similar to disaster planning- you just have to plan how your company is going to respond to the unknowns.
How does BCP work for a home-based business?
Simply put, the best option for BCP for a home-based business is to combine the business and personal planning. After all, these two are linked in your life! We will go into depth in a later post about hazards that are unique to home-based businesses, but one of the considerations with a home-based business is that your “off-site” backups are probably going to have to be virtual for anything you can make virtual (don’t worry, we can refer you to both free and inexpensive options).
What are the unknowns?
This might seem like an odd question to even mention here, but the reality is that most “unknowns” are actually known! The main point of BCP is to identify your risks, the ones that are most likely to occur, how you will respond, what resources are available…and then match everything up the best you can. We will discuss this topic in depth in another blog post on another day. For now, it is good to understand that BCP is very easy to do WITHOUT hiring a consultant or paying a ton of money for someone to make plans that you are not a part of. While a business owner does not necessarily need to be directly involved, at least 1 senior manager needs to be a critical part of BCP.
Where do I start?
BCP is not really something you can sit down and do in 15 minutes. I once read the title of an article that said BCP planning can be done quickly with just a few charts and fill-in-the-blank forms. Some companies may be able to do this, but there is a little bit more to it than this. Your company determines your needs, but I recommend starting where you would be hit the hardest. Most business owners, or managers, are aware of the “worst” scenario possible that is realistic. For example, I own another company (still sort of a hobby right now) that is a laser engraving company. I partner with my dad in this business. I already know that if something happens to him or the laser, we are out of business. My plans focus on the “what-if” scenarios surrounding those two pieces of information. We will discuss specific ways to plan in another blog, but identifying your 1 or 2 issues that will put you out of business is really where you should focus your energy to start.
How does security play a role?
Every business is offering goods or services. If not, you are running a scam and should really consult a lawyer! Securing your facility, information and resources is an important part of your business strategy. Of course, this does not necessarily mean that you need a security system or a camera system. You may need the proper technology to protect key items on your computer, or you might need a safe to hold high value items. “Security” does not necessarily imply something that RE Security Solutions can provide…but, a security system is something that can assist in your security needs. We happen to provide several options for security solutions and continue to expand our selection on a regular basis. There are some items we will not be able to provide, but we can refer you to resources that we know about or at least point you in the right direction. If you are in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex or surrounding areas and looking for security solutions, please feel free to check out our website, give us a call or send us an email!
In part 2, we will discuss how to identify your risks/hazards as a home-based business!