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Monday, January 13, 2014

4 Things About Business Continuity Every Small Business Owner Should Know

Business Continuity seems like a huge undertaking for a small business.  Small business owners are focused on providing their products and services to their customers and have little time to devote to recovery and sustainment efforts. 
However, developing a Business Continuity Plan/Program is much easier and less time consuming than many business owners are lead to believe.  With all of the free resources available, it’s really just a matter of committing a little extra time to developing it.

Here are 4 things you can do right now to get the process of developing and implementing Business Continuity in your business started.

Define What Is Critical To Your Business

Most of what is important to small business owners is generating revenue from their products and services offerings.  In that respect, everything that generates revenue is critical to the business.  Therefore, defining what is critical to the business is very easy.  If it generates revenue for the business, it’s considered critical to the business.
In every small business I have developed plans for, I recommended first developing a products and services catalog to capture all of the products and services the business provides.  Then with this document business owners can define what is most critical to the operation and what order things have to be recovered in a disaster or crisis.

Define The Essential Functions

Essential Functions are what staff do to provide the products and services to the customers and for the business.  One critical product or service many have a few or many Essential Function that support it.  Others may support multiple Critical Services. Using the Products and Services Catalog, define what functions are essential to support the end-to-end delivery of all critical products and services.

Determine the Employees and Third Party Vendors Support The Essential Functions

Employees are the core delivery system of a small businesses.  They keep the business operating and are an essential  part of most small and large businesses alike.  However, unlike large businesses, the small business doesn't have the same resources or size of workforce to maintain a limited crew for a period of time, as is the case with Organizational Continuity.  With this in mind, the small business owner has to consider that all of the stall are critical in some way to the operations of the business.  Therefore, a critical staffing plan is necessary.  The same thing going for 3rd party or vendor support, but in this case, the vendor or 3rd party is obligated to provide staff regardless of the condition (unless safety is at stake).  This should be agreed upon in service agreements and contracts beforehand.

Determine the Support Requirement that are Necessary to support Staff and Third Party Vendors

This will be the part that requires the most detailed consideration.  What services and required necessities do the staff need to perform their jobs at the most basic level without compromising quality or output during a crisis or disaster?  What alternate facilities are available to conduct operations?  What level of safety and security is required? What IT Services do they need access to?  How will these things be secured?  Who is responsible for securing them?  These are detailed considerations that need to be made in order to recovery or sustain revenue streams for the business. 

Armed with this information, you can now begin to develop strategies and actions plans to recover or sustain your business though any kind of crisis or disaster. 

There are all kinks of scary reasons you should have a Business Continuity Plan in place for your business, but those are not the reasons you should be concerned most with.  The most important reason is to have the capability to recover or sustain your business in the event of a crisis or disaster is:  It’s your business.  It’s worth protecting.


1) Develop a Products and Service Catalog (not required, but it's a good idea)
2) Define what is critical to the business (Critical Services)
3) Define the Essential Functions that support the Critical Services
4) Determine the staff that support Essential Functions
5) Determine what support is required for staff during a crisis or disaster

Business Continuity is not insurance for your business.  Business Continuity is assurance that your business will continue to operate during a crisis or disaster.  

And that is just good business.

Mike Minzes is the Founder and CEO of INEVOLVE SB, a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning and Implementation company located in Kennesaw, Georgia. Mike has over 20 year of experience on the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Industry. For more information on INEVOLVE SB, please visit them at GOBCP.NET .