Preparing your organization to be able to continue or quickly resume normal operations in the wake of a crisis or disaster is known as business continuity planning. Implementing a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is not just for large businesses and organizations, it is also vital for small- and medium-size organizations. Why is a BCP essential for your organization? Consider that 60%-70% of small businesses either do not re-open or fail in the aftermath of a fire or other disaster.

As a business owner or manager, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What types of incidents could disrupt our normal daily operations (fire, cyber-attack, IT failure, natural disasters, a disaster in another area which would interrupt our supply chain, etc.)?
  2. If our operations are disrupted, how long can we be down before our business is impacted financially? How long can we be down before our best customers get nervous about our ability to perform and deliver? How long can we be down before we are out of business permanently?
  3. Do we have contingency plans in place which address the various dependencies and interdependencies within our organization and with our key customers, suppliers, vendors, and employees, which will allow us to successfully continue our operations if we are impacted by a crisis or disaster? If so, how often and how thoroughly are we testing our plans?

There is a perception among many small- and medium-size business owners that business continuity planning is only for large, complex organizations. Although large organizations do require extensive planning, they typically have built-in system redundancies and, therefore, are more likely to survive being impacted by a disaster. On the other hand, for a small business, a single point of failure in daily operations may be catastrophic. Consequently, it is critical for organizations of every size to be prepared for crises and disasters.

Bryan Land is a partner at Crisis Ready Group and holds a Master of Science Degree in Crisis and Emergency Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.