The Emergency Planning Unit is promoting business continuity both within the district council and in local businesses and voluntary organisations across the New Forest.
Could you cope with a disaster?
If the worst happened, could your business continue operating? In an emergency such as fire or flood, you could be up and running again sooner than you think - with a business continuity plan.
What is business continuity?
Business continuity is the process of planning so that your business or organisation can cope with the unexpected. It ensures that, when faced with disruption or disaster, you can carry on or resume operations with minimum delay.
Why have a business continuity plan?
The strongest motivator should be the survival of your business, and for service or voluntary organisations it is ensuring they will be able to meet their obligations to the community. Adopting the attitude 'it will not happen to me' is not a sensible option. Most of us have life insurance to protect our families, and while many will have insurance against various risks to their business it is unlikely that insurance will cover all of the costs or problems from a significant incident.
- One in five businesses suffers a major disruption every year.
- More than 50 per cent of companies who do not have a business continuity plan are hit by a disaster and go out of business within 12 months.
How much will it cost?
A simple plan for an average business should not cost very much. It will take a modest amount of your time, but should not be a major expense. If your business is heavily dependent upon technology or in a vulnerable location for flooding then the expense is likely to be greater. However, many of the basic essentials of business continuity are very simple and cheap.
Developing a business continuity plan
Your plan doesn't need to be complex. Many of the actions you can take are simple and effective. They include:
- Making a full list of all organisations and individuals you deal with including staff, suppliers, utilities, customers, professional associations, insurers. The list should include all details and contact information and be kept up to date with copies held at work and at least one other safe location.
- If you use databases and other computer-based applications back them up regularly and keep the back up copies in at least one other safe location.
- Make sure your computer systems are password protected, and regularly changed.
- Make sure your premises are properly secured to cut the risk of theft and damage.
- Make a fire evacuation plan, and ensure good fire protection measures are in place to minimise the impact of a fire.
- If at risk of flooding make a flood protection plan, putting suitable precautions in place.
- If reliant upon suppliers, identify alternatives, and preferably buy from more than one where possible.
- Consider the use of alternative accommodation, staff and communication in an emergency
This list is not exhaustive but should help your initial considerations.