Seven Steps To Plan To Stay In Business Following An Emergency

Written by on January 27, 2016 in Process Management with 0 Comments

Have you made plans for your business to survive an emergency situation?

Were you prepared to weather the storm that closed businesses all along the eastern seaboard?  You may not have been directly in the path of the storm but what about your customers, suppliers and vendors?

Planning to stay in business following an emergency is a necessary function of any business.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a small, one-person shop or a multi-million dollar enterprise. If you have customers and provide products and services, you need a plan.  Here are seven planning steps.

Step 1 – Get Organized

Identify the scope and the cost of documenting your plan to stay in business (business continuity).  Identify the following:

  • Define the scope of the project.  Are you planning for Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity?
  • Business objectives and requirements (preparation, emergency action, recovery, etc.)
  • Assumptions about the plans
  • People involved (employees, stakeholders, steering committee)

Step 2 – Gather Facts

Gather factsIn this step you will be gathering information that will be used as you develop the plans.  For example, you would:

  • Conduct a Risk Analysis
  • Perform a Business Impact Analysis
  • Identify Critical Business Functions
  • Clarify Project Budget
  • Identify Alternate Strategies for Staying in Business

Step 3 – Design The Plan

This is the stage where you actually design the plan.  In this step you would:

  • Write the Plan Scope and Objectives
  • Identify the major plan components and how you will structure and format the documents
  • Identify the triggers to Execute the Plan including how to escalate, notify and activate the plans
  • Identify vital records and off-site storage requirements
  • Determine how you will administer the plans

Step 4 – Create The Plan

folderThis is where you document that details of how you plan to stay in business and/or recover from an emergency situation.  The following is a list of the types of plans you would develop.

  • Emergency response procedures (evacuation)
  • Command, Control and Emergency Operations Center (off-site crisis management)
  • Delegation/Designation of Authority (who makes decisions in the emergency)
  • Emergency Response linked to business recovery
  • Detailed Resumption, Recovery and Restoration procedures
  • Vendor Contacts and Purchase of Recovery Resources

Step 5 – Test The Plan

Make sure the plans you develop will be effective in an emergency.  Develop scenarios and exercises to test your plans.  Conduct a live test to evaluate how the plans worked.  This allows you to make changes to be more effective.

This is also where you ensure that everyone in the organization is trained on the procedures and knows what to do in an emergency.  Be sure to document your testing and training efforts.

  • Date, time and participant names
  • Results of testing and training
  • What needs to be changed
  • Specifics of how you plan to make the changes

Step 6 – Maintenance

Maintenance and updates are often neglected.  We create the plans and then don’t review them until after an emergency occurs.  That leaves your organization at risk as people and situations change.  Here are some things to consider in your maintenance planning:

  • Schedule and budget for updating and maintaining your plans
  • Software tools that must be updated and maintained
  • Review criteria
  • Program status, reporting and audits
  • Plan distribution and security

Step 7 – Execute the Plan

Emergency ChecklistHopefully you will never have to implement this step.  If an Emergency occurs, this is where you declare the disaster or emergency and execute your recovery operations using your plans.

 

Planning to stay in business is a responsibility of everyone who provides a product or service to customers.  If you need help in developing a plan to stay in business during an emergency situation, give us a call (260-436-5064) or sign up for a free consultation.  We can help you get your plans in place quickly and efficiently.

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