That business continuity plan (BCP) you had in place was probably drafted some time ago, and might have even taken a while to dig out.
So, how is it working out? Have things gone to plan, or have you to some extent had to make it up as you go along?
For many firms, it will be the latter.
That’s simply because a BCP, when created, is a theoretical document and it's very hard to imagine some of those worst-case scenarios happening.
And so the plan is created, usually at a high level, rarely with a lot of detail in it.
When the worst does happen, our instinct and business intuition kicks in instead, which is generally far more powerful than a document gathering dust somewhere.
I learnt this first-hand many years ago.
When Para-Sols was a fledgling business, I knocked over my computer tower, destroying the hard drive and losing everything. And I mean everything.
I had a BCP; I’d had to create one as part of my business plan for Business Link (remember them?) but it was, frankly, useless.
Never had I imagined that in a split second I could be clumsy enough to wipe out my entire business, physically anyway.
But that’s the point of a BCP; to try and imagine the unimaginable, and prepare for it.
This current crisis is a prime example. I doubt many firms had ‘global pandemic’ as a subheader in their BCP.
However, they might have had 'inability to access the office' as a header, and a process under that which will have been put to the test in recent weeks.
So right now in the immediate aftermath is a great time to review your BCP, just as I did following The Great Computer Crisis of 2010.
You should approach it by thinking in more general terms that can then apply to a wide range of situations.
For example, what if stockmarkets drop to a level that makes our recurring income unsustainable?
Now is a great time to test those 'what if' questions, in order to turn your BCP from something theoretical into something that allows you to sleep at night, because you know it is fully working.
Hopefully, everyone has muddled through by now and is broadly operational again.
But rest assured, this won’t be the last challenge or crisis that your business faces.
While the pain and challenges are fresh in your mind, now is the time to channel that into enhancing how you’re working now, and protecting your business in the future.
Some tips and action points to consider:
1) Review your BCP immediately. Even if it feels like the last thing you want to be doing, it is the best possible time to do so.
2) Forecast your own cashflow and build in market crashes, just as you would with clients.
3) Review your will. Does it reflect your current wishes for your business? Have you considered succession planning, or made use of a business assets trust?
4) Use the business continuity plan template provided by Apricity if you don’t already have one.
5) Make a point of reviewing your BCP each year. As we've seen, things can change pretty quickly. After this crisis, I suspect the rate of change is going to go up a gear or two again.
Drop us a line if we can help or you’re struggling with any elements of your plan.