Organisations, regardless as to their size or industry sector, face a number of persistent challenges. They need to protect their reputation, generate a profit each year, maintain an effective workforce and keep pace with trends to ensure that their products and services remain relevant to their consumers. However, today's organisations also face the ever-present threat of unexpected events that can disrupt their operations.
Examples of these disruptions include cyber attacks, natural disasters and, as we have learned all too well in recent history, a global pandemic. These unexpected events can have a marked impact on a business' position within its sector, depending on the manner in which it responds to the event.
Businesses that have a robust business continuity plan are better able to respond to these disruptive events and to emerge unscathed and ready to continue operations than their rivals that have not taken the time to prepare for an emergency situation.
Risks of failing to implement a business continuity plan
1. Financial losses. When a business is unable to respond to an unexpected event and has to close at short notice, it experiences reduced productivity, lost sales, and recovery often comes at a high price. Small businesses that do not have an adequate financial buffer may struggle to recover at all.
2. Reputational damage. Customers, suppliers and stakeholders rely on the businesses they are involved with to provide a reliable service, so when a business fails to meet their expectations due to inadequate disaster recovery planning, they lose trust in that business.
Benefits of implementing a robust business continuity plan
1. Reduced downtime. When a business is able to respond effectively to an unplanned event, it can restore business operations quickly, with a minimal impact on productivity and sales. This mitigates financial losses and, perhaps even more importantly, reputational damage.
2. Greater resilience. When businesses take the time to assess its risks and responses before an event occurs, it develops a good understanding of its vulnerabilities and can take appropriate measures to build resilience.
3. Competitive advantage. Businesses that are prepared for every eventuality have a competitive advantage over other businesses in the field that are less well prepared. It will be able to restore productivity more quickly and could even poach business from competitors whose clients may have lost faith in their ability to deliver.
When operating in an unpredictable business landscape, business continuity planning is a simple and proactive process that will improve a business' ability to respond to unexpected events. To ensure a business' long-term success and resilience, it is essential to implement a robust business continuity plan and to test and refresh it as required.