More than 80 per cent of Australia’s small businesses are failing to follow the advice of their business continuity management plan.
Business continuity planning is the plan that gives you the idea of what you need to do to keep your business running smoothly, says Andrew Jones, chief executive of the Australian Business Continuity Association (ABA).
But it is not always as simple as it might sound.
“You might want to look at the plan for your business from the point of view of your stakeholders and the wider community, rather than your own business,” he says.
“So you might have an outline that includes what’s going to happen when the business goes out of business, what the business is doing when it goes out, what you’re going to do when the company goes out.”
But if you’re not having that discussion with your business stakeholders, you might not be doing a good job of it.
“Jones says it is essential that businesses are able to communicate effectively and clearly with their customers.”
If you don’t have that kind of communication, it can be very difficult for businesses to stay in business,” Jones says.
He says businesses are also under pressure from customers to keep pace with changing business cycles.”
They’re always asking for more and more services, so they want to see the business as being more efficient.
“That’s where a lot of the business continuity plans are being made and put in place.”
He says a business continuity roadmap is key for a company to maintain its business continuity.
“It gives you a roadmap for the long term that you can stick to,” he explains.
“What’s important is that you’re constantly looking at the business, looking at what’s happening, looking to see if there’s any areas where you’re struggling, and if there is, how you can do something about it.”
And it also allows you to look for areas where the business can make some progress in terms of the ability to make more money.
“But the problem is that the scope of the plan can be limited, Jones says, and it can often be hard to determine exactly what your business needs to keep up.”
There are always going to be areas that you may not have the flexibility to manage, because you’re working across a number of departments, or you’re looking at areas that may not be able to move forward because of financial constraints,” he adds.”
I think the best way to think about business continuity is to think of it as a resource that will be available to you as time goes on.
“He recommends that businesses get help from a business consultant before writing a business plan.”
The consultant can help you determine what the scope is for your plan, what’s the plan’s strengths and weaknesses and what you should be doing to maintain that,” he suggests.”
For example, if your business is in a rural community where there’s no access to a modern business support network, you may want to consider having a business support officer that can help.
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