Business Continuity Planning for Small Companies

Business continuity planning is the type of business planning made to continue operations under various unfavorable conditions, such as crime, military actions, natural and other disasters that cause damage to assets, etc. A business continuity plan (BCP) defines the actions and measures that should be taken by the company in the case of disaster, accident or emergency: for example, where to move, if necessary, how to stay in touch with all the employees, etc. Business continuity planning is closely related to disaster recovery planning, and BCP and DRP are often combined into a single document, but these things are different: while DRP is a plan for recovery after disaster, a BCP is a plan for continuing the business until recovery is done. It is the least expensive type of insurance, and it costs almost nothing to small companies, yet many companies make a big mistake by never bothering to do business continuity planning.

Here are the tips for creating a BCP for a smaller company (business continuity planning can be different for large companies, and is not discussed in this article):

1) Make a list of key personnel - the people that hold positions that are absolutely necessary for the business to exist. Fill in their contact information including business phone, home phone, cell phone, pager, business email, personal email, and any other ways to get in touch with them. Keep this list as short as possible, but as long as necessary. Define their job functions that are most crucial, and think about backups - the people who can do those jobs when primary job-holders are absent.

2) Identify the people who can telecommunicate and do their business from home office. This can refer to any employee, including the most important personnel mentioned in p. 1.

3) Make a list of external contacts - the contacts to most important vendors, contractors, consultants, attorneys, and other people and companies whose services you might need during the recovery operations. Fill in their description and contact information. Do not forget to include contact information of utility companies and community offices (such as police, fire department, hospitals, etc.), municipal and post office.

4) Document critical equipment. Equipment used to produce the goods and services your company sells belong in this category. This also includes software, especially specialized professional programs that are difficult or impossible to replace or restore.

5) List most important documents. These include, first and foremost, legal papers, utility bills, banking information, critical HR documents, building lease papers, tax returns, and any other documents that are necessary for your business to function, and maybe even to start everything over again.

6) Identify your contingency location and equipment options: where would your office move, if necessary, where to rent equipment and vehicles from in case your company's property is damaged. List all the appropriate contact information.

7) Make a list of actions and measures to take in emergency situations, and appoint people responsible for certain actions.

8) Put all the above mentioned information into a single document, and make a copy of this document to give to each person from the key staff list. Also, make some extra copies and keep them in a safe off-site location.

9) Inform your employees about the BCP and make sure they know what to do in a critical situation. This refers to each employee, not just to the key personnel.

10) Test the plan in order to make corrections if necessary. Inform all your staff, contractors and vendors about the testing, and then act as though an emergency situation has occurred, and make sure everyone acts according to the BCP. If it requires some significant changes, run the test again after changes are introduced.

11) Update all copies of your DCP and inform all the employees about the updates in time.

About Me

Hello! My name's Caroline Dawson.
On any given day you might find me sewing quilts, shopping at thrift stores, cooking chocolate zucchini cake, or playing tennis. Please get in touch if you'd like to talk about any post in my blog. You can send me an email at