The last two years have been anything but normal. Since the start of 2020, the world has undergone massive changes, crises, and alterations. Today, the world spins a little bit differently, society operates in a new fashion, and humans are a lot more resilient. Too many unpredictable and mind-numbing events have taken place over the past few years, leaving businesses to adjust on the fly and jump through hoop after hoop.
This real-world experience has taught every business about the necessity and importance of a business continuity plan. Thanks to COVID-19, many organizations were forced to deploy these measures, or in many cases, create and exercise a business continuity plan overnight.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
In the most simple and direct terms, a business continuity plan (BCP) is the emergency guide that organizations keep in their back pocket in the event of an unexpected event or disaster. A BCP ensures that a business’s personnel and assets are protected and able to be functional sooner rather than later.
BCPs typically plan for a variety of unfortunate events such as weather-related disasters, cyberattacks, etc. These plans are critical to an organization’s risk management strategy and protocols. A BCP is intended to be holistic in nature and practical in deployment. These plans should be detailed and leave little room for interpretation and grey areas.
A standard BCP typically includes:
- Determining how stated threats will impact operations
- Implementing safeguards to lessen the chance of successful threats
- Testing procedures to gauge their effectiveness
- Reviewing, editing, and updating the plan to make sure that it is most appropriate and applicable to the current times
COVID-19 & Business Continuity Plans
A global pandemic isn’t something many experts expected to happen, let alone the average small business or even the rare Fortune 500 company. It is an understatement to say that COVID-19 flipped the world upside down. The economy took a massive hit. Employees were laid off. Businesses were forced to close. Uncertainty ran rampant.
Even the best risk management teams struggled to establish BCPs that allowed organizations to get back on track or thrive in the early months of 2020. COVID-19 was so new and unfamiliar that the right reactionary plan seemed like a shot in the dark.
However, while the global pandemic was a once-in-a-lifetime event, it does not mean the value or importance of a BCP is negated. In fact, COVID-19 has spurred nearly every business to start taking risk planning seriously, where significant time, resources, and effort are dedicated. The pandemic has opened the eyes of organizations that took unexpected events for granted, as well as causing those businesses that have had BCPs in place to re-evaluate and double down on their strategies and predictive analysis.
The last two years have illustrated that organizations:
- Cannot be too prepared
- Need to have blueprints that can be deployed overnight
- Must prioritize the well-being of their staff
- Must dedicate budget to risk management
- Test and practice emergency preparedness for a variety of operational threat scenarios
Business Continuity Plans in Action
BCPs are great in theory, but different in reality. BOHO Magic, Preciate, and TruPath, are three real-world examples of businesses that successfully weathered the storm for the past two years, in part thanks to their own BCPs.
Take the advice from these companies and how they leveraged their BCPs to best manage the seemingly unmanageable…
“Life is unpredictable, so business is going to be unpredictable. The past two years haven’t been easy on us, or anyone. But as a small eCommerce business, we have been able to survive and grow during this time due to our business continuity plan. The core principles we established, carried BOHO Magic and our product through times when sales were tough to come by,” said co-owner of BOHO Magic, Nataly Vanunu.
“COVID-19 was a challenging time on every level. As a business, so many unknowns existed, and it felt like every day was a ‘wait and see’ game. Our team quickly turned to our BCP as it became clear things were changing for the foreseeable future. Through this comprehensive plan, we were able to get our employees back in the driver’s seat and doing their jobs, helping protect their personal lives as well as the functional capability of the organization,” said founder and CEO of TruPath, Ryan Nouis.
“2020 was something we didn’t plan for directly, but it is an unexpected event that in a roundabout way helped our product expand its global footprint and reach — and it just happened to coincide with our BCP. As a virtual meeting space, our platform fit so many of the needs organizations were looking for during COVID, so as we deployed our BCP ourselves, it help accelerate our own growth. Sometimes risk management planning can be the best business investment you make,” said founder and CEO of Preciate, Ed Stevens.