What Is a Business Continuity Plan?

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A business continuity plan is a strategic outline of how your company would respond to any number of potential disasters or calamities. You can't control all potential events that could impede your normal business operations. However, a continuity plan allows you to keep operating and making money while you deal with the negative circumstance.

Plan Elements

The first step in a continuity plan is to review and outline all facets of the operation that could be affected by a negative event. Then, you note potential disasters or occurrences that could cause a disruption. An office-based organization might note the potential for an extended power outage, for instance. For each potential event category, business leaders develop and document a sequential plan of action. After the full plan is in place, the final step is to perform testing. The company schedules particular tests, alerts employees and has those involved in leading contingent responses take action.

Benefits of a Continuity Plan

A continuity plan protects you from trying to scramble after a negative event. When a natural disaster or problem shuts down part or all of your operations, you could miss hours, days, weeks or months of income opportunities. Plus, a company that has to shut down operations for an extended period risks losing customers to competitors. A web-based business needs a strong continuity plan for dealing with a server problem that shuts down its website. An alternative site or backup communication process might fill the gap while information technology crews work on a solution.