Emergency planning for businesses

Business continuity management

There's a saying that you should 'plan for the worst and hope for the best'. Some people think that emergencies only happen to other people, and others believe that they could muddle through if the worst happened.

The truth is that if you manage or own a business, you should have a robust, comprehensive and validated business continuity management (BCM) plan for unexpected emergencies.

This increases the chances of your business surviving a major incident. It will help you to minimise the likelihood and/or impact of any disruption on your business or organisation.

What is business continuity management?

The Business Continuity Institute defines BCM as "a holistic management process that identifies potential impacts that threaten an organisation. It provides a framework for building resilience with the capability for an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities".

To put it another way, BCM is about planning to ensure that an organisation has a quick and painless return to 'business as usual' in the event of a major interruption. This is regardless of the cause of the underlying incident (be it man-made or natural, accidental or deliberate).

The business continuity management cycle

Creating a BCM plan is best thought of as a cycle of activities, each leading to the next (and improving) stage of the process.

Each stage is described below, and these and the supporting documents, which you may download and use, will take you through this process:

  1. Understanding your business - Ensuring that you plan for potential disruption to the most critical parts of your organisation
  2. BCM strategies - Deciding what strategies you can use to reduce the risk or impact of potential disruption to your critical activities
  3. Developing the response - putting these strategies into action and reducing the risk or the impact of disruption to your organisation
  4. Establishing the continuity culture - implementing your BCM planning through awareness and training
  5. Exercising and plan maintenance - validating your BCM plan and arrangements to ensure that they will work when needed

Download business continuity plan documents