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Business continuity 101: how to draw up an effective business plan

Tue, 03/29/2016 - 13:09
Disaster Recovery

Starting a business is a noble yet daunting task. If you’ve ever tried it, you’ll know that it’s mostly a trial-and-error process – usually with many tears along the way. But that process can be an immensely rewarding one, if done conscientiously.

For start-ups

One of the first things to do is to create a business plan. The business plan gives you time to crystallise the purpose of the business and to see whether it’s feasible in taking on. It also helps to identify who will be doing what and how you will go about doing it. According to Forbes, your business plan should have the following details:

  • The executive summary
  • A description of the market opportunity
  • An industry analysis
  • Who your team will be
  • The operational plan
  • Financial projections
  • Where the money will come from and how it will be spent

Something often overlooked during this process is how the business will react in the event of business operations being interrupted unexpectedly – by a power-outage, for instance. To help show that you are prepared for these things, add the “business continuity” aspects into your business plan:

  • The team. When describing your team, indicate who will be responsible for such events. When explaining each member’s skills, it would help to explain why they will be suited to the responsibility of business continuity.
  • The operational plan. This section of the business plan can get quite dense with detail – since it describes the ins and outs of how the business will function. Here you will include your daily overheads as well as any assumptions regarding the operations of the business. Explain how those operations are safeguarded by applicable countermeasures if they are interrupted. Also mention who you’ll be partnering with to facilitate business continuity during an outage. State any additional expenses that your business continuity practices will require. This stops short of an actual business continuity plan but contains the critical information to help you keep sight of this important aspect.

For existing businesses

But business plans are not only for start-ups. Let’s not forget that running a business is no walk in the park either. Companies on the lookout for a cash injection, a corporate merger, or general improvement will also need a business plan to illustrate the company’s goals for the foreseeable future. If the business is in a good position, the chances are better that funding will be granted. However, there are no guarantees. In the case of an existing business, having a solid business continuity plan helps to show that the business can weather unexpected changes. The business plan will include aspects of the continuity plan (as mentioned above) to help illustrate the security of everyday operations should something go awry.
 
The security of the business plays a big role in whether potential investors will regard the company as favourable or not. Regardless of whether your company is new or established, showing that you can survive the unexpected will only bode well for negotiations.

Image credit: http://www.thelazylaw.com/

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