Planning for the future is something no business can afford to do without. For many new entrepreneurs, the phrase ‘business continuity planning’ makes them think of giant corporations with limitless budgets. Of a scale of activity that simply doesn’t apply to their smaller, more humble operation.
That’s not true. Business continuity planning (BCP) is something every business can and should do, regardless of its current size. So, with that in mind, let’s look at a few ways in which you can do this activity for your own company.
One of the more fundamental ways in which BCP can help your business is by helping you to flesh out what worst-case scenarios would look like for it. This helps to minimize risk by making sure that, if things go sour, you’ve got a smooth plan in place that you can activate quickly.
To perform BCP for worst-case scenarios, think about what your business relies on to operate and succeed. For most companies, this boils down to several common areas: cashflow, staff, inventory, brand and image, and legal issues such as compliance.
The value in this type of planning really lies in how fast it allows your business to react to any given scenario. If you’re thinking about a worst-case scenario, make sure you focus on confirming exactly how your business will react immediately after discovering an issue. Estimate timeframes, think about redundancy in your plan, and make sure you have cascaded any important information throughout your company staff.
What many people don’t realize is that BCP applies to best-case scenarios as well! Ask any experienced entrepreneur and they’ll say the same thing: growth is often a fleeting opportunity that’s easy to miss.
With this in mind, it’s good to think about how your business will react to brief opportunities to expand and succeed. Just as you would with worst-case scenario planning, think about how you and your team will respond and react to a sudden, positive opportunity.
And just as you did with the worst-case planning, think about the areas relevant to your business where this kind of thing could appear. For positive scenarios, you might want to consider networking opportunities, equipment or service acquisition, hiring new staff, and responding to sudden orders.
One of the most common ways in which a business fails is money. Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised; a lack of access to working capital can appear as a threat in unexpected ways.
With finances being so important to the success of a smaller business, it’s critical you perform BCP thoroughly where money is concerned.
Think about the working capital you have and the options your business has to obtain more. If you can request and access a loan or credit line from a team like Idea Financial, how long does it take to see the cash in your business account? Are you likely to be accepted, or do you need to research eligibility requirements?
Doing this can provide you real peace of mind as you focus on growing your business. Knowing exactly how much money you can request on-demand, and knowing how long it will take to land in your account, does a huge amount to minimize stress and fear. Better yet, it makes quickly responding to a great opportunity all the easier; you just open your BCP document, follow the plan, and do what you need to do.
Consider outside help
As a business owner, it’s easy to disregard the paid support of consultants and specialists – particularly when you’re on a budget. The fee a third party might pay to provide you with days or weeks of support is simply too much; you’d rather do it alone.
It’s a dangerous trap to fall into mentally. In truth, there can be tremendous value in paying for assistance and an outside view from an expert. This is particularly true for business continuity planning where you often ‘can’t see the woods for the trees’; simply having the time of a qualified professional who isn’t immersed in your business already can produce real results you’d be unlikely to find yourself.
And in the case of something like BCP, it’s not an activity you need to perform often. Because of this, take the time to consider if hiring a BCP consultant might be a shrewd and valuable choice for the success of your business in the long term.
We hope that helps!
Business continuity planning is a powerful tool in the arsenal of any growing company. It costs little to nothing to perform, helps to protect you from risk, and can even make your growth and expansion smoother and more consistent.
We really appreciate you stopping by to read today’s article. Be sure to stay tuned for more on everything business and finance related.