Nothing happens as per planning for any business. Look no further than the pandemic of COVID-19 in 2020 as a shred of evidence. In this pandemic, companies constantly faced a looming fear of a financial recession for an unlimited time frame. Hence, businesses should be concerned about the emergency. In this scenario, small businesses have shaky grounds, so it is arguably important for these businesses to make an investment in business resiliency for protecting the business. So, creating a business continuity plan for sustaining the business is the most crucial thing. Creating a sustainable business continuity plan is like creating a real estate plan, everyone knows they should do it, but they don’t feel it is urgent until it does.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan is defined as an operational plan that helps a company’s actions during a pandemic to avoid huge losses in the business. Most of the interruptions are caused by natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, etc. A business continuity plan helps organizations navigate emergencies. The continuity plan has goals such as outline the specifics, actions to do while keeping the business afloat during the pandemics.
Why do Startups need a Business Continuity Plan during Pandemics?
- Startups have their ground shaken; hence they are prone to dissolve the business during the pandemic. Irrespective of any companies in the world, from Fortune 500 companies to small and medium businesses, startups are the companies that must have a business continuity plan for the smooth flow of business operations during odd times. Whether it is a small business or an MNC, business continuity planning will eventually help the companies to respond quickly when disruption strikes by minimizing the negative impact on the business operations.
- A business continuity plan will provide a stress-free working environment for the employees of the start-ups. Since nowadays working virtually creates a lot of stress among the employees that also leads to reduced productivity and a sense of insecurity. Having constantly worrying about “what-if” in the mind is not a good sign. Communication and team engagement must be thereby sharing the business continuity plan with the employees.
- Framing a business continuity plan for the COVID-19 pandemic also helps in assessing the weakness of the company in every aspect. Highlighting a business’s weakness helps in prioritizing the most crucial aspects of growth and profitability. A business continuity plan serves as a unique opportunity in figuring out what is essential for a company to stay afloat in the market.
How to Create a Business Continuity Plan for a Startup?
Creating a business continuity plan for small and medium businesses is not an easy task to do. Rather it is focused on running a resilient company that can run with significant absenteeism of employees and on a limited budget.
1. Identifying goals and objectives of the Continuity Plan
The goal of the business continuity plan for a startup is to determine the way the organization will maintain its core business functions during the COVID-19 pandemic i.e., lack of employees and funds. Depending on the nature of the business function, the effectiveness of the plan creates an immediate impact or over a certain time later.
2. Establishing an emergency preparedness team
For creating a team for the pandemic business continuity plan, select cross-functional managers who can act as a leader and take crucial decisions when necessary. The team should include employees from different teams who are known for their great leadership.
3. Performing Risk Assessment & Business Impact Analysis
In this step, the potential threats of the company need to be identified and then analyzed rigorously. Discuss the threats within the team while reducing, eliminating, or modifying essential business functions related to the identified issues that will create a business impact.
4. Identifying Essential Business Functions
The team has to determine how the company will maintain the core business functions during the pandemic.
5. Preparing Plan for Each Business Function
For maintaining the core functions, an action plan needs to be created while ensuring that all problems have been addressed. An action plan should include details such as key emergency staff, critical function, details of action process, communication strategy, employee absenteeism monitoring activities, decision-making process, resource allocation.
6. Reviewing the Effectiveness of the Plan
Once the business continuity plan has been framed, it needs to be reviewed thoroughly so that there are no mistakes remaining when it comes to implementing during the pandemics.
7. Testing and Updating the Continuity Plan
Once the business continuity plan has been reviewed, now the phase comes for testing the plan by conducting an exercise among the staff so that they can have a fair understanding of the action plan and how it will work when it is activated.
Points to Consider while Creating a Business Continuity Plan for Startups
No one has predicted the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. In one word, it is very uncertain these days as the pandemic has spread across the world. Businesses face many adverse effects such as disruption of supply chains, workforces, business transactions, profitability, and the list is never-ending. Following are the few tips that startups need to consider while creating and reviewing the business continuity plan for sustaining this COVID-19 pandemic.
- Evaluate the Business Impact Analysis (BIA) for the pandemics
- Multiple office locations are not viable during pandemics
- Validate the remote working capabilities
- Maintaining a clear and crisp communication
- Develop cyber-security training for the remote workers
- Keep knowledge about vendor’s emergency plan
- Create a knowledge base for the employee information
In this unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic, startups along with Fortune 500 companies are going through a financial crunch. It is very crucial to keep the business moving during this crucial time and for that business continuity plan is considered as the weapon that can help you in sustaining the adverse effects of this COVID-19 pandemic. It will not only give a competitive advantage but also mitigate the financial risks involved. Hence, a business continuity plan is a savior for the startups to cope up with all the disruptions coming in all functions of the business.