Is Business Continuity a Neccessity for Small Businesses?

OK - so your business hasn’t rendered your personal wealth to the ranks of the recently despised one-percent (just yet).

Does this mean you can put less than 99% effort into developing a business continuity plan for your small business? Are you so busy trying to either launch your business, grow your business, or even simply maintain your status quo in these “tough times” that developing contingencies for business continuity either hasn’t  occurred to you, seems premature, or you think you can afford the investment?

Let’s answer that question with another question: Do you insure you automobile? Your house? Do you have life insurance? A will?

Of course you do - and business continuity planning is really a form of insurance to minimize the danger of losing your business due to an accident, disaster, emergency, and/or threat. Still not convinced?

Disasters are a Natural Part of Life

A short conversation with small business owners still reeling from the 2010 BP oil disaster would most likely spark a few thoughts as to how you might want to at least consider looking into business continuity planning. In June 2010 an article in USA Today reported an $80,000 loss to a fisherman whose boat had been out of the water for only 40 days. The same article cited a fishing charter company losing $112,000 due to cancellations.

And then we have companies in Southern California who, as a result of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Many companies lost all (yes all) of their records as a result. That means all financial records, all customer data, all employee data - everything. Natural disasters, even for those of us who have never experienced such trauma, are a fact of life. Earthquakes, floods (as well as ordinary rain damage), hurricanes, tornados, ice storms, hail storms, volcanoes - and they don’t need to happen in your own backyard to put your small business at risk.

Expect the Worst - Plan for the Best

If you’re still thinking that the chances of your small business suffering due to a natural disaster are about as good as winning the lottery you might want to consider that not all disasters are “natural.” For instance, there are many ways a fire can start. Anything from faulty electrical systems, arsonists, to careless smokers can spark a disastrous blaze. Most small businesses don’t plan on cars plummeting through their office space.

Disasters also come in many forms, one of the most damaging is lost data. According to a report co-sponsored by Hewlett Packard and SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) 50% of data loss is caused by human error. This same publication reports that a hard drive occurs every 15 seconds - a statistic that demonstrates that it is not a possibility that this could happen to your small business, rather, it probably will happen to your business.

The short answer to the question as to whether small businesses need to concern themselves with business continuity planning (BCP) is a resounding “Yes.” Small businesses should expect disasters to occur and have plans that address disasters whether their source is internal or external, natural or personal.

Visit to learn about how the BS25999 standard can help with your business continuity planning.

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