Business planning

How to ensure business continuity in uncertain times

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This article offers practical advice and support to help you keep your business moving as we all navigate these unprecedented times.

Considering recent events, contingency planning has become a major consideration within businesses worldwide.  

This kind of planning is useful for any unexpected situation, whether it be a global pandemic, inclement weather, or a mass transit strike. Fortunately, you can prepare your business for operational resilience by creating a contingency plan that addresses the impact on your organization, employees, suppliers, and customers.  

Here are some ideas for how to get started.  

  1. Assign an owner: All plans need a single point of contact and a single person who owns the plan and can delegate. This needn’t necessarily be a senior member of staff, but people need to know who it is. This person should ensure the plan makes sense and that nothing has been assumed. 
  2. Invite input from all sources: The granularity of the plan will depend on your needs. You may decide that each function or department within your business needs its own plan, for example. You may even decide that individuals should create their own plans. Keep in mind all the functional/departmental/individual plans should sync-up and be combined into a larger workplace plan. 
  3. Consider your entire ecosystem – from supplier to customer: Your plan might include a list of alternative suppliers for certain key resources to be used if your existing supplier becomes unavailable. It may include specific plans on how to treat individual customers, especially larger and/or more important ones. 
  4. Make this a living document: Don’t create it once and then forget about it. Ensure your plan is reviewed periodically and don’t be afraid to make changes should they be needed. 
  5. Communicate: Once the plan is created, ensure it’s available to your entire staff – and that everyone knows what it is, where it can be found and what it means for them. 

No one can predict when a crisis will begin or end, but with the right technology and good communication processes, your business can continue to operate effectively even when challenged with incidents out of your control.  

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