Need A Fast Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan? Free?

If you have not got a Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery Plan, it is possible you could have one in just a few hours time, admittedly it may take a few hours over a few days, or if it was a priority - and the decks are clear you could have an initial BC/DRP by this time tomorrow!

If you think you already have a plan, then our system would be just the thing to revitalise it, and quick too.

As many firms recently discovered with the advent of the corona virus, including the government, the lack of a plan led to delay. Delays as all enterprises know, large or small, are highly likely to be expensive and if you have no plan, no one will know where you are going - this is highly likely to lead you toward even more expense, uncertainty and worry. It's not a good look!It's very bad for staff and client relations, creates bad PR and worse...

So how much can you reasonably achieve in a few hours? The truth is, just having a plan, even if it is incomplete is still better than no plan. For the most part it is about considering your business and going through a logical process that is easily mapped out. Basically you complete the puzzle. It can be undertaken alone at your desk or with a team, together or remotely. There really is nothing to stop you from cracking on. You will then have a plan even if it is part complete and open in certain areas, you will know what to address, in the meantime your interim plan could provide cover in case of an emergency, better to have some contingency than none.

You may be wondering why it is so important? Well, the truth is that at the time of emergency, as some have found out, people, staff, suppliers, partners, clients tend to panic and in an effort to do the right thing, go and do the wrong thing. For instance in the recent Corona Virus experience the world over, people rushed out and over bought, famously in one way by clearing the stock of supermarkets and certain members of the NHS, who were otherwise working hard, found that when they eventually got time off and went to their local store, it had all gone. While they were looking after you, it turned out, no one was looking after them. Tearful scenes on TV.

So what has that got to do with your business? Well, the above story illustrates not everyone acts sensibly. In the case of fire for instance some people run, some try to put the fire out and others want to try and rescue colleagues in trouble. Problem is putting fires out and rescuing people from fire is not what we are practiced in and whilst laudable, positive and proactive, brave even, especially under difficult circumstances, being brave can actually put more people in danger, especially if the potential rescuers become the ones who need to be rescued.

If you have a precise plan you can predetermine what you want to save and, before an emergency occurs, let your staff know that there is a plan and what their part in the plan is, so they can be clear and know exactly what to do and who to listen to. A big part of a plan is command and control, not simply so you can command and control, but also so others know their job and can do the best to get out of the way and not become part of the problem.

As anyone who has been caught in difficult circumstances, it is a difficult and worrying time for all. The key is to act fast and it helps instill confidence and reduce worry and panic if everyone is clear on who is doing what and those who are not in control are able to trust those who are in control as they know there is a plan.

There's been a lot of talk about how life will change in the future as a result of corona virus. It was much the same during the financial meltdown and other major events. Two things to bear in mind: shattering events occur more often than you think, sometimes natural, sometimes man made. For instance a big and much mooted change to taxation for the self employed that affects companies large and small has meant a lot of change, to some disastrously. Brexit another. So we should bank on the idea that in the next five to ten years other seismic changes will occur that could dramatically affect your enterprise. Your business may be knocked out of shape for six months... The second thing to consider is that most enterprises and people survive. Yes there have been some bankruptcies and terminal closures as a result of significant events in the past, yet in the main, we find a way and most enterprises becomes stronger and more resilient as a result. They have tended to be the ones that had a plan.

Leadership is the key here. How you show up in the face of disaster is what leadership is all about. the way you treat your colleagues, the way they treat each other and the way they respond to crisis is vital and they will in many cases be remembered, as you will be too, for the way you behaved under stress. Many people, depending on the severity of the circumstances may see their lives flash by and may wonder if it is all worth the risk and consider perhaps that they have only a limited time on this planet that now may be the time to leave and do more important things. Yet if they have an important role to play and are made to feel as though they are part of the solution (this has to be genuine) then that in itself will help tremendously with their morale and their infectious enthusiasm.

To complete a BC/DR plan fast is to simply complete a first pass, you can spend weeks and months developing the very best and most comprehensive plan, using the very same framework if you wish. The amount of effort you put into the plan is down to you, with the outline we provide it is possible to complete each section quickly, in order to put a plan together quickly if you never had one before on the basis that any plan is better than no plan and about 95% of enterprises have no plan and therefore, no clue, at all. There is strategic and competitive advantage in having a plan on that basis. Having a plan can make you a safer bet too, it may help you qualify for investment.

The reason I know a plan can be completed quickly is I have worked with clients to write a plan who have been able to publish it the next day. A plan is complete when it covers your key areas of business. Will there be outstanding work to be done to support the plan? Usually yes. Part of working the plan is to identify deficiencies precisely so you can work on them and find the better fixes you need, it is crucial to do that before an emergency. If we had not worked the plan, we would never have known the deficiencies existed and they would have never been resolved, which in the face of disaster would lead to much worse outcomes and a poorer business.

As the plan forces you to focus and prioritise, it also forces you to review specific processes and procedures and it determines the way things in the past have to change for the future. BC/DR planning provides real short term additional benefits, often leading to short term service improvements and cost reductions. Although costs can go either way. Most would agree it is a lot less expensive to bear the costs now before an emergency occurs. It is like paying an insurance premium, except the money is not merely written off, and payable again year after year, you end up with a strengthened and more resilient enterprise. Plus, if a disaster occurs, your clients will be the least affected and the extent to which the enterprise goes off the rails will be minimised and you and your team will be much relieved and able to get back to normal, sooner.

The 12 hour Quick Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan is available to ESORMA members for free.

Click here to read about how to become an ESORMA member.

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