Business continuity planning helps you to manage risks and ensure continuity as much as possible if your business is disrupted.

It helps you anticipate, prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from disruptions.

Emergencies can develop without warning, disrupting your business and your staff. Being better informed and better prepared to cope reassures your customers and suppliers that you take the resilience and security of your business seriously: it is good for you, your staff, your business, your neighbours and your reputation.

In most cases, a business continuity plan need be only a couple of pages long. The important thing is to look at what could interrupt your business and have good workarounds in place. A plan costs relatively little and need not take long to prepare.

A lot of small businesses operate from industrial parks, which concentrate various services in a small area. Businesses nearby might use dangerous chemicals or processes. If there is a fire or incident at such a business, the emergency services may evacuate or seal off the area. Understanding potential problems such as this and deciding on the best way to work around them could make the difference between keeping a contract and losing it.

If you are a small or medium enterprise or a voluntary organisation we can provide free advice on business continuity and planning. Please email for more details.

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Frequently asked questions

A well-developed, structured and rehearsed business continuity plan will help your business recover from an incident as quickly as possible.

It will ensure that staff know their roles and responsibilities in an emergency and follow recognised, practiced and agreed procedures. This will ensure that the functions, services and systems critical to your business are up and running again as soon as possible. 

Your business could be affected by:

  • severe weather;
  • loss of utilities;
  • loss of premises or restricted access;
  • loss of key personnel;
  • theft or vandalism; and
  • adverse publicity.

The lack of an effective plan could result in:

  • loss of business;
  • damage to reputation or brand;
  • loss of customers and staff;
  • loss or damage to property and premises; and
  • impact on insurance.

Your plan may need to take into account contingency arrangements such as:

  • temporary relocation of your business functions and operations;
  • staff taking on different roles;
  • home working;
  • sourcing a new supplier or contractor; and
  • backing up key data.

There are consultancies that can help your company develop a business continuity plan.

We do not endorse any consultancy. If you want to find a consultant, contact a business continuity trade association, such as the Business Continuity Institute.

Disaster recovery plans are usually associated with information technology recovery, such as back-up systems, electronic data storage recovery and hot sites for servers.

A business continuity plan covers all aspects of your business, highlighting those requirements critical to keeping the business running. A good business continuity plan should cover staff, resources and contractual issues.