The pandemic has definitely overtaken major headlines all over the world, but it was just one of the many adversities that we collectively faced last year. Political instabilities and natural disasters have rattled markets locally and internationally.
The end of 2020 will not put a stop to these calamities. Fast forward to a new decade, companies should be geared not just for opportunities but also looming risks with a comprehensive plan for business continuity.
In this article, we’ll take you through the basics of building your own business continuity plan applicable to any setup. So whether you’ve recently transitioned most of your operations back in the office or some of your teams remain working remotely, you’ll have a plan that can ensure your business is up and running in spite of disruptive events.
What is a Business Recovery Plan?
A business recovery plan helps companies prepare best measures for unfortunate events to limit effects to the business in general, the workforce, facilities, tools, and operations.
While there is no catch-all business disaster recovery plan, having one ready gives you peace of mind, simplifies the decision-making process, and mitigates the long-term effects of disasters on your business. A business disaster recovery plan also helps you:
• Comply with regulatory or legal requirements
• Insure your finances against high-impact risks
• Minimize service interruption and resource costs
• Recover faster during and after disasters
• Boost client’s trust and confidence in your business
• Protect the safety and well-being of your employees
Business Continuity Plan Recovery Strategies
The first part to any effective business recovery strategy is to assess your risks and exposure and impact, followed by a clear communication strategy to all involved stakeholders then plan out your business recovery. Some businesses stop after creating a recovery plan but it’s best to take the opportunity to strategize minimizing future risks and impact on business.
Identify potential scenarios that could cause business setbacks. This can range from large-scale events such as natural calamities (typhoon, earthquakes), economic events (recession), to self-contained incidents such as cybersecurity attacks (data leak, hacking) or building accidents (fire, flooding). Having a risk matrix will also help you classify and organise each scenarios into different categories.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) determines risk scenarios based on four major areas of impact: people, processes, profits, and partnerships. You can list down and organise your risk scenarios depending on their effect on these categories.
2. Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)
A BIA serves as the framework to gathering all the information you’ll need to develop your business continuance plan. This is where you can list down the possible consequences from high-risk situations, identify business-critical operations along with the resources (talent and tools) and processes needed to keep them operational.
Steps in Conducting a Business Impact Analysis
The contents and length of a BIA report may vary per organisation. Here is a general checklist you can use to ensure that you have the essential elements in your report.
✓ Investigate and collect information
✓ Analyse the consolidated information
✓ Prepare a report to document and presenting your findings
What to Include in Your Business Impact Analysis Report
The contents and length of a BIA report may vary per organisation. The best BIA reports touch on multiple impact points. We have created this checklist that you can use to ensure that you have the essential elements in your report:
3. Prepare a crisis communications strategy for all stakeholders
A crucial part of your business plan is a communication matrix where you should list employees, business partners, customers, suppliers, and external agencies (such as fire departments and police). Ensure you have all the tools (SMS, email, IM) to maintain two-way contact with your stakeholders, and have a hierarchy to identify which ones to contact first to ask for help or check on their safety.
You can create a stakeholder map as an initial guide on communicating to a certain group. Here’s an example of what you can use:
Stakeholder mapping and legend
• Keep Satisfied – Customers Give them reassurance that they could access your services and/or products within a predetermined date in accordance with your allowable outage period.
• Manage Closely – Executives, Partners, and Employees Check on everyone’s status especially for those with business-critical roles and ensure their safety.
• Monitor – External Agencies (Government, Media, Financial Institutions) Reach out to your local emergency response agencies. Monitor updates on mainstream and social media. Contact your insurance agency if applicable.
• Keep Informed – Recovery Team During and after the recovery period, coordinate closely with your designated recovery team to provide them the resources they need.
4. Create department-specific (e.g. IT and Financial) Recovery plans for your business
Prepare resource requirements and recovery procedures wherein your technology infrastructure and other office equipment are compromised physically or digitally. Just like setting up your personal emergency fund, consider how much you’ll allot for purchasing new resources. Your department-specific continuity plan should also be regularly updated with data security and insurance policies.
5. Check for occupational health and safety hazards
Inspect your facilities if they’re equipped with working safety features. If you’re leasing an office space, you can coordinate with the building’s administrator to see their emergency response plan and align it with yours. This sample workplace inspection checklist will give you a quick overview of the key areas that you need to keep in mind when visiting your office:
6. Keep your stakeholders updated
It’s important to be transparent with your investors, employees, and more importantly, your customers, to improve your relationship and uphold accountable service. They’ll also appreciate staying abreast of your restoration efforts in the case of inevitable service disruption or delayed product deliveries.
Plan Better with a Business Recovery Step By Step Guide
Once you’ve gathered all the information and have conducted your BIA report, you can start developing your business recovery plan to fit your current environment and goals.
Aside from your gathered data, use the 4Ps framework to guide you in creating your recovery goals. Each action towards recovery should focus on reducing or eliminating risk to your:
• People: ensuring the safety and wellbeing of your customers and staff.
• Processes: maintaining operability with established workflows and usable equipment.
• Profits: generating sufficient revenue for business survival and investment.
• Partnerships: having a conducive environment for your operations through compliance with regulatory agencies and help from local authorities.
Emapta specializes in helping businesses establish a fool-proof business continuity plan through creating outsourced teams in the Philippines. Our infrastructure and technology ensures that business operations run smoothly 24/7. Speak with one of our outsourcing experts today!
During the pandemic, we’ve learned that it was businesses possessing the flexibility to reshape their structure and operations with haste who successfully survived the rapid changes.
How were they able to do it quickly? In the case of our clients, having an office backup location via ournetwork of 14 BCP-ready sitesgave their staff optimal space to continue working that resulted in mitigated downtime. Offshoring has significantly broadened their operations too, such that theirremote international teams can keep productivity at an all-time high and complete work on behalf of local offices that were closed during lockdowns.
If you want to significantly lower the risk of interruption in your key business functions, consider outsourcing some of your operations to proficient international talent as your contingency plan. So that when certain incidents disrupt your local office, your business is flexible enough to let your offshore team is ready to continue your operations.
Explore outsourcing as your fool-proof contingency plan
And with the advent of technology and a mature outsourcing industry, transitioning some or all of your back-office processes and other functions has never been easier. Having an offshore team in place can give you much-needed peace of mind that someone has your back in case you need more time to recover from any high-risk events while giving your customers continued access to your products and/or services. Companies have successfully set up their services offshore with us through this 5-step transition plan:
You can compare your existing facilities to that of your outsourcing partner. Observe if their location, facilities, workspace quality, and back-office support are compatible with your requirements.
Ensure there’s a room for discussion when it comes to meeting your needs. The right outsourcing partners adjusts to your needs, not the other way around, and gives you the freedom to have full control over your team.
After coming to an agreement on your ideal setup, it’s time to cost it all up. When evaluating your outsourcing provider’s offer, always keep in mind the value of what you’re paying for. Is worth it? Are there any hidden costs?
In this phase, your outsourcing partner will take of everything to set you up offshore – hiring talent matched to your required roles, designing an office space conducive for collaboration, while keeping everything transparent with you.
As you take charge of aligning your local team and your international office, your outsourcing partner will be there to take care of your offshore team’s day-to-day operations, including back-office processes.
Developing a business continuity plan is one guaranteed way of future-proofing your business, but it’s just the start.
Outsourcing might be your potential fail-safe solution – in cases where your can’t work locally, you’ll always have your international team to carry your business forward. As part of your contingency plan, you have the power to build your office-baseddedicated teamor add in more flexibility through hiring remote talent.
No matter the uncertainty, it is always better to be prepared than simply being reactive. Keep your business continuity plan at hand so you can be ahead of what’s to come.
Be ready for anything with a reliable outsourcing partner
Be prepared for anything, outsource with us today!
Outsourcing is a solid business continuity plan you can implement easily with the added benefit of cost-savings and scalability. Get in touch with our expert outsourcing specialists to learn more about our services.
We’re always on the lookout for truly talented people who have the skills, ambition and drive to help our international clients thrive. So if you’re ready for a challenging (and very rewarding) career, please get in touch today.