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Don’t ignore BCP – business continuity can impact on development and highlight weaknesses

Published: 07/10/11

Research conducted by Aviva into SME’s and their business continuity planning (BCP) revealed some rather worrying results.

Half of the businesses surveyed admitted that they had no such plan in place; 16% said they didn’t think that they needed one; 28% did have one and the rest had either not heard of the concept, or didn’t really understand it.

What is it?
A very simple definition of business continuity planning is how to stay in business in the event of a disaster; however, it is not limited to that. And this is the point: any incident that could cause the potential for loss of business should be considered, including any event that the business is dependent on, such as loss of a supplier, or critical infrastructure (a major piece of machinery or computing/network resource), or as a result of theft or vandalism.

Start the process
Planning is often perceived as time consuming and complicated, plus we know that many small businesses want to concentrate on core business activities, but this is precisely why plans and their revision need to become second nature. Aviva offers their Business Continuity Planning for Small Businesses available for download and providing a breakdown of the process into simple steps.

Know thyself
BCP forces SME’s to review areas of their operation that they may not have considered and in so doing gain a better understanding on the structure of their business. As well as looking at threats it can also identify business strengths and areas of potential.

An increased awareness of planning should encourage businesses to ask major suppliers and customers about their disaster planning; if too much of the business is reliant on one external party and something with their operation goes wrong it can have a devastating effect on the business.

As well as assessing fire, flood, or IT issues it’s important that SME’s review the key threats relevant to their particular sector, e.g. last year’s prolonged bad weather had a major effect on road travel, not just haulage, but mobility of staff and customers across many different areas.

Lastly in any major incident how long it will take to get up and running and whether new premises will be needed are often either ignored by businesses or significantly underestimated; we can help here by calculating the right indemnity period for the business.

It is important that we work with our clients to protect their interests at every stage of the operation.

If you would like help with business continuity planning or any area of risk management, please contact your Flint account handler to discuss SME Insurance.

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