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What is business continuity management? How can you improve?

A major crisis and disruption can happen to your business any time without warning. Your business could:
- be attacked by terrorists,
- have a serious employee deficiency,
- have an earthquake,
- undergo major fire and water damage,
- experience long hours of power shortage and equipment failure and so on.

Do you have a back up plan for your business to deal with these major crises or to continue to operate under such circumstances? Business continuity management (BCM) will help your business to be prepared for the unexpected by improving the way you should respond to and overcome the effects from such incidents.

Whatever your size of business or how many employees work for you, you always have to be ready for anything. Business continuity management (BMC) will provide you with different response and recovery procedures to cope with major emergencies. Business continuity management will help you develop a detailed plan for dealing with any type of emergency. The plan will include procedures to follow in case of a business disruption. For example, in case of a power outage, the plan should cover what to do, whether move to another building, have a different office take over operations, and so on. It will also give you suggestions on different actions to help recovery quickly and smoothly.

Business continuity management plan should include these key elements:
- Ways to delegate responsibilities in an emergency.
- At what phase of the incident you need to take action for contacting your insurer, suppliers, customers and staff members?
- Help you focus on your priorities.
- Analyze the business impact. How long can you bear hardship without supplies?
- Examine the action procedures needed for recovery including having the proper equipment, enough staff members and good working place to restart the business.
- Examine the risks your business could face. For example, you may not have enough people to deliver the kind of service your customers deserve.
- Recognize business main responsibilities. Who relies on you including suppliers and customers and also who do you rely on?
- Ways to back up all your information technology. Have a way to save and secure your entire computer based information system, particularly software and your computer hardware. If possible, have backup computer systems.
- Train all your staff members. What they should know and do in case of an emergency. What's everyone assignment to avoid panic and disorderly conduct?
- Develop various customized plans to fit any unexpected events to help business recover quickly.
- Show you the proper procedure to prepare a detailed emergency log sheet. This document may be needed by your insurer to confirm your losses and to acknowledge the steps you took to try to safeguard your business against such unexpected incidents.
- A business continuity procedures manual which talks about what to do, a list of everyone concerned, ways to contact them, and resources. This procedures manual must be kept up to date.

Business management continuity will strengthen your ability to cope with any level of emergency or work disruption. It will help you to carry on with your everyday business and reduce the potential risk of financial loss due to your circumstances. It will maintain customer trust in your business and preserve your public reputation.Moreover, it will help you to keep up a strong relationship with your suppliers and staff members.

You can improve business management continuity by reviewing your plans now and then and make changes as needed. Once in a while, you can stage an emergency situation and try as close as you and your staff members can to follow the procedures. You can increase security and safety by making sure all electrical equipment is tested regularly, installing ceiling sprinklers and fire alarms throughout your building and figuring out the best way to back up all your computer information. Furthermore, you can provide fire extinguishers with easy access to anyone in the building. You can hire experts now and then to give your staff training to help them to better cope with any emergency situation, to teach them the proper evacuation procedures and to ensure they are simply prepared for the unexpected.

Business management continuity is about helping you to be prepared for any emergency situation and to present you with different action and recovery procedures to get your business back to normal as quickly as possible.

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