Let’s Talk Business for September 15, 2023

Business disruption costs your company money, resulting in lost revenues and extra expenses. The worst part is that potential threats can come anytime and anywhere. A natural disaster or sudden illness can leave your company without a leader, supplier, or office space. A business continuity plan (BCP) ensures your organization can function during a crisis.

In 2020, more than 50% of companies worldwide didn’t have a business continuity plan. While many have since implemented one, others lag behind. A business continuity plan is a written document that outlines the steps your organization takes during an emergency. On a basic level, your BCP explains who handles essential business operations and highlights time-sensitive tasks. You assign each person a role and describe operational processes so that you can fill empty positions with another team member or new employee as needed. It should be updated regularly and accessible to all staff in digital and paper forms.

All companies benefit from having a business continuity plan, even solo entities. After all, if you are a solopreneur, who will communicate with your clients if you can’t? Also, corporations in some industries must create a BCP. For instance, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requires member firms to keep plans according to Rule 4370.

Although business continuity plans vary according to industry and company size, most include similar sections. A solopreneur without employees will have a less extensive guide than an entrepreneur with multiple locations and a large staff. Your business continuity plan may include the following:

  • A list of roles and responsibilities
  • Communication protocols for staff, vendors, and customers
  • An outline of critical functions like payroll and revenue operations
  • Your strategy for assessing risks, testing your plan, and updating it

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) helps your company move forward after an incident, focusing on returning to business as usual. In contrast, a business continuity plan prioritizes keeping your operation open and running regardless of the circumstances. A DRP is often part of a more extensive business continuity plan; alternatively, it can be a stand-alone document. The key to creating a resilient business is having both in place.

Assessing threats and having an actionable plan gives your company a competitive edge, ensuring you are prepared to handle anything that comes your way while reassuring your customers, employees, and suppliers that your business will remain open during trying times.

Ready.gov provides excellent resources to help you throughout the business continuity planning process. Along with guides and templates, you can view training and testing information or learn how to complete a risk assessment. Free business continuity plan templates are available from the following agencies:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce offers many resources to help you start, run, and grow your business–including our annual Leadership Emporia Academy, monthly Group Lunches, Ribbon Cuttings, Business After Hours events, Legislative Dialogues, and more. Stop by the Trusler Business Center at 719 Commercial St., call 620-342-1600, or visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org to learn more.

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“Let’s Talk Business” is a weekly column of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success, guided by the vision that positive attitudes promote positive actions. Contact us at 620-342-1600 or chamber@emporiakschamber.org and visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org.