Don't be unprepared for a crisis, make sure to assess and test business systems regularly.

3 steps in small business continuity of operations planning

Business continuity planning needs are different for small businesses than larger enterprises, and making sure to meet these unique needs requires careful assessment of risk and recovery requirements. Even without the hundreds of employees and millions invested in IT and other resources, small businesses still need to prepare for any crisis and have the right continuity of operations plan in place should things go wrong.

In order to launch a successful strategy for business continuity, small firms need to take three primary points into consideration: Critical systems identification, assessment and testing. These efforts will make up the core of its strategy, and help to eliminate the greatest risks.

  1. Identifying critical business systems – Consider how much your business would suffer if a system went offline. Take the time to classify each system in a priority from low to high, and consider the list of highest priority operations. This will help establish an order of operations when a crisis does occur and help a firm take the most efficient action toward returning to normal operations.
  2. Assessing systems' resiliency – The next step is to consider the relative level of business systems'  resiliency during a crisis. Some systems will be the most vulnerable, while a company may find that others are able to get back up and running swiftly thanks to the cloud and other advanced technology.
  3. Testing the continuity of operations plan – Once a strategy has been developed for continuity, test it to ensure it meets business needs. Make adjustments and test again. Regular testing after the plan has been finalized will also help keep it up-to-date should systems change or business needs evolve.

Bringing on expert business continuity consultants can help expedite these processes and ensure the right plan is in place for any contingency.