Business Continuity Planning (BCP)

Did you know there is one small enterprise process which creates new marketing opportunities into the public sector and publicly listed companies?

Business Continuity Planning

Hello my name’s Clive Bonny

Did you know there is one small enterprise process which creates new marketing opportunities into the public sector and publicly listed companies?

This same process improves your ability to recover from staff illness, IT failures, disruptive legal action, and delayed client payments.  Less than 10% of small firms have this yet it’s easy to implement and it can even reduce your insurance premiums.

In the next few minutes, I’ll be sharing 5 key tips on disaster recovery and business continuity planning. My 5 key points are as follows

1 What it is and why it works

2 The activities to set it up

3 How to structure the plan

4 Sharing it with your stakeholders so everyone gains

5 How to tap into external support at low cost

So let’s first look at what it is and why it works

A business continuity plan is a document prioritising key risks to your business and the actions to reduce or remove those threats. This includes disaster recovery from sudden emergencies such as key worker illness, loss of access to premises, or failures in your supply chain or IT systems.

Why it works is simple. If you have already identified possible challenges ahead and how to manage them, then you’re much more likely to survive and thrive. You won’t be caught short by an emergency. You’ll have less to keep you awake at night. And everyone inside and outside your business will have more confidence in your resilience when times get tough.

Let me add a UK legal statute also gives you a big marketing boost into the public sector. The Civil Contingencies Act specifies all publicly funded work suppliers should have a business continuity plan.

To give you an example my micro-business employs under 5 staff. By adding my BCP to bid tenders I’ve won national contracts with the NHS, police, universities, regulatory bodies, professional institutes and large international PLC’s. I’ve been trading since 1990. So this process really can work for you!

Number 2 the activities to set it up are just good responsible business practice. The national responsible business-standard run by the organisation for responsible businesses provides an excellent benchmark for small firms to assess cross-functional risks. This covers your activities in the workplace, environment, marketplace, community, leadership values and continuity planning.

Having an independent certificated validation of your risks and mitigation plans by a qualified person is good evidence to insurers, funders, suppliers, staff and clients that your enterprise will survive and thrive.

Our third key point is how to structure your plan. The good news is that templates are available from expert advisors which give you a replicable structure off the shelf. This enables you to tailor your content for your unique situation within a professionally recognised framework.

As a home-working microbusiness, my BCP is on a single page. It includes how I address my risks for IT failure, my possible illness, intellectual property protection, and quality assurance for client retention. My longest client retention is 28 years.  If you employ 50 or more staff these simple frameworks can be easily shared for their feedback.

A professional framework guides your assessment of critical hazards, impact analysis, resourcing needs, and who takes the timetabled actions. It includes an emergency response checklist, contact numbers and a guide for media communications.

Our fourth key point is sharing it with all your stakeholders, including banks, insurers, clients, staff and suppliers. You may feel this is a risk in itself. In fact, has a very positive effect. It shows your confidence in operational resilience. It’s also an opportunity for you to ask for their BCP where appropriate. Remember your supply chain is only as strong as the weakest link.

It’s also true that front line staff are often more aware of functional risks than senior managers. By sharing and engaging their feedback you’ll be motivating them to take responsibility and adding to your armoury.

Fifth and finally how do you tap into external support at low cost? Most small firms do not employ an in-house expert nor should they as an external advisor may only be needed for a day or two. But this is a very important job so how do you recruit a very important person?

Check their CV experience on Linkedin, their website customer case studies, obtain 3 references,  get a written quote with their method and timetable.  Qualifications are very useful in HR Consultancy and in intellectual property protection if you have not registered your trademark.

I often see a brand name in use but previously registered as a trademark to a different company. This risk can lead to legal action by the registered trademark owner claiming historical profits. Risks abound as they say Caveat Emptor or Buyer Beware!

Let’s recap on our 5 key points

1 This vital process asks What If and gives you a plan to survive and thrive

2 Your set up activities are accessible in responsible business standards

3 Ready-made frameworks are available to structure your plan

4 Your sharing it with your stakeholders results in win-win all round

5 Qualified advisors are cost-effective so don’t accept second best

So the next step is yours to take. Thank you so much for watching and listening.

Clive is MD at www.consult-smp.com  a member of UK Business Angels Association, due diligence advisor and investor in early-stage health and tech enterprises.

How has lock-down affected my business?

I mitigated risks with a business continuity plan for disaster recovery using Responsible Business Standards. This pre-meditated disruptions to travel, access to premises and illness.  My home office has high-speed broadband for video conferencing and updated secure software. I’ve just released a free video on business continuity planning to support existing and new clients, sponsored by Clean Growth UK.

What is my outlook for the next few months?

I’m positive about change creating new business opportunities provided we adapt quickly to the new environment. Many managers can use home-working time to take stock of risks and impacts. This allows a re-plan to pivot resources for the challenges ahead. Whilst trades requiring buyer travel are down, online services such as coaching, mediation and trademarking have grown substantially.

My advice to businesses currently seeking funding

Keep track of evolving government support and the many new online pitching and networking channels. Target private equity funders in your market. Use home work time to reinforce evidence of your investability. Update your business continuity plan. Contact qualified professionals who offer free and funded advice, like myself. We are happy to help.

WINNING LARGER CONTRACTS WITH BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING (“BCP”)

Commercial bidders and Government spend over £175 Billion per year on external contractors. It is now targeting to give at least 25% of this spend to local small to medium-sized enterprises and to make it easier for SME’s to bid by contracting such opportunities through a new free online website portal showing public tenders.

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 specifies all publicly funded work suppliers should have a Business Continuity Plan.  Defined by BS 25999-1 British Standards Institution’s Code of Practice for Business Continuity Management, “BCP” is a holistic management process that identifies potential threats to an organisation and the impacts to business operations that those threats, if realised, might cause, and which provides a framework for building organisational resilience with the capability for an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities”.

Tender Pre Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) usually ask “Do you have a BCP?”  Increasingly business buyers and government departments, local authorities and other public commissioners of work want evidence of a current BCP, in the same way as Health & Safety and employment procedures are requested. BCPs do not always need to be certificated to comply with BS25999, the British Standard for business continuity management, but they should adhere to recommended BCP Quality Management procedures. A qualified risk assessor will advise best options.

BCP enables winning public sector and larger commercial contracts, and also protects directors and managers against personal liabilities. The Companies Act and Corporate Manslaughter Act require directors to show due diligence, independent judgment and reasonable care. BCP protects a business by preparing and planning against potential denial of access to key business resources. A BCP will identify how to manage resources cost-effectively, mitigate potential losses by prioritising key operational risks and the actions required to address each risk.

BCP shows the resilience of a business, competitive advantage, helps win larger contracts, can save money on insurance, facilitate financial funding and ensure faster disaster recovery. It identifies exposures to internal and external threats, provides effective prevention and recovery, improves competitive advantage and systems integrity.

Grant-funded support is also available to help SME’s manage risk and Business Continuity Planning

For more information contact Clive Bonny Clive@consult-smp.com 07973 799153

Clive is professionally qualified as a Certified Management Consultant in risk assessment and offers initial consultations at no charge and without obligations