As many as 70% of small businesses close within the first decade. Even firms with a solid business model and loyal customers may struggle if they fail in one key area: planning for unpredictable circumstances.
Business crisis and continuity management is a conversation that often gets left out of decision-making processes. But if recent events have taught us anything, an unforeseen crisis can have potential impacts on a global scale.
So, what is your crisis management plan, and how can your management team create a recovery strategy that keeps your doors open? More importantly, how can business continuity plans help you avoid a crisis in the first place? We will answer those questions in this article.
The Difference Between Business Continuity and Crisis Management
Let’s first explore the differences between crisis management and business continuity. A business continuity plan is a proactive set of procedures that help you keep your business operations agile during an incident that could affect your company.
A robust continuity plan will have multiple action plans ready depending on what triggers it, whether it’s a cyberattack that causes a data breach or a fire that requires you to evacuate your main office.
In order to develop a business continuity management plan, you’ll need to identify possible crises and perform risk assessments for each of them.
With this list, you can perform a business impact analysis to determine how each would affect your operations, and develop a risk management strategy to minimize the impact of each.
Unfortunately, even the most prepared business can’t prevent a disaster in every circumstance. That’s where crisis response and disaster recovery procedures should be activated. For example, if your workspace becomes a flood zone, you could activate procedures to allow work to continue from alternate locations.
Just like a fire drill helps students at schools prepare to respond to an actual fire, testing your response plans will help you to ensure they run smoothly. Make routine testing a routine management process, and your business will have a better chance of lasting through crises.
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Identifying Potential Crises
Having a solid emergency response plan depends heavily on the foresight of how potential disasters can affect your operations.
Understanding how possible events can affect you is crucial for risk management, business continuity, and crisis management. Here are a few examples of issues to plan for:
COVID-19 lockdowns had businesses across the world scrambling for solutions to keep their doors open. While outbreaks rarely reach the scale of the coronavirus, smaller-scale outbreaks are much more commonplace, and having a response plan will ensure you’re ready if it happens again.
Supply Chain Issues
Border closures, factory shutdowns, and even the occasional massive ship blocking the Suez Canal can cause shortages on crucial components for your operations. These delays can bring some companies to a standstill while they rush to find another supplier.
Supply chain issues can be one of the most difficult problems to plan for, especially if you haven’t done the legwork to find alternative suppliers.
Hurricanes, blizzards, tornados, earthquakes, and wildfires are just a few of the natural disasters that can impact your company.
Even if they don’t cause damage to any of your operations, they can restrict access to your buildings and affect your employees’ ability to get their jobs done.
While short-term power outages can be an inconvenience, they can potentially cost thousands of dollars if they last more than a couple hours.
In one notable example, many businesses in Texas experienced this firsthand when Winter Storm Uri exceeded the power grid management’s seasonal expectations.
This led to the worst power outage in the state’s history, causing an estimated $80 to $130 billion in damages and numerous lost economic opportunities.
Most businesses rely on software and computers to manage some aspects of their business. Employees will also need easy access to company data to perform their job duties.
Keeping your technology secure and up-to-date is critical for your operations. If your servers are down or your IT is on the fritz, your employees can’t get their job done and you may lose business.
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Creating a Business Continuity and Crisis Management Strategy
Many service-oriented businesses may not have to worry about supply chain issues, although they may still feel the economic impact if their customers are struggling.
Your crisis management and business continuity plans should be tailored to your business by identifying the biggest concerns and finding ways to keep the risk low.
For example, if power outages are a concern in your area, it may be worth investing in a backup generator. Routine IT audits can keep your technology up and running, and help you identify security risks that need attention.
Technology solutions can help you implement your crisis management and business continuity smoothly, but unfortunately many small to medium-sized businesses lack the in-house expertise to develop a healthy IT infrastructure.
A managed service provider is typically more affordable than hiring your in-house team and partnering with one that understands the way your business works can make all the difference when you have to implement crisis management procedures.
Get Expert Advice for Business Continuity and Crisis Management
Business crisis and continuity management is easier when you have a comprehensive plan in place. If you require guidance in creating a plan to help you weather the potential impact of a disaster, the Technology Advisory Group is ready to assist you.
For more than 25 years, we’ve helped businesses in Rhode Island and New England create and implement business continuity plans tailored to their IT needs. Our planning services are specially designed to help you keep your systems running efficiently while protecting your data from natural and digital disasters.
Our team of in-house experts can help your crisis management and business continuity planning team create the right-sized technology solutions to keep your company afloat during worst-case scenarios.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us today to learn more about how we can help.