managing risk

How to write a simple Business Continuity Plan

Creating a Business Continuity Plan, or BCP, is one of the best things you can do to proactively protect your small business. A comprehensive plan has the power to protect you and your people from a crisis which may otherwise derail your business.


What is a Business Continuity Plan and why do you need one?

A BCP outlines how your business will continue to run, and how to minimise potential losses, in case of a disruptive event such as:

  • a fire
  • a weather-related natural disaster
  • water damage (eg. from a burst pipe or a running tap)
  • obstruction of building access (eg. due to a nearby gas leak), or
  • robbery.

The first step in creating a BCP is to identify potential risks.


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What is a Business Impact Analysis

Before you do anything else, complete a Business Impact Analysis, or BIA, to:

  • identify potential risks to your critical business functions (CBF)
  • evaluate their likely impact, and
  • allow you to prioritise these risks.

Completing a BIA involves assessing the potential impact of each risk on different functions within your small business. It also identifies the resources and people needed to help re-establish normal operations after a disruption, including the order critical functions are restored.


What to include when creating a BCP

After the BIA is complete, you’re ready to create your Business Continuity Plan. This should contain information on how to protect your people and assets in the event of an interruption, how to swiftly resume business as usual and how to respond to various forms of disruption.

Step One - Include a list of objectives, tasks and resources needed to continue operating, as well as an overview of your business continuity strategy. Include response and recovery plans.

Step Two - Create protocols and procedures for handling various disruptions. This should include:

  • continuity strategies
  • evacuation protocols, and
  • contact details for emergency services, suppliers and other vital resources, as well as for important figures within the business.


How do you test and implement your BCP?

Testing your BCP is crucial. It ensures:

  • all policies are in place
  • your people are aware of them, and
  • the plan is simple to apply if necessary.

Face-to-face meetings, virtual simulations or even drills can be used to test the continuity plan – don’t forget to include employees working remotely. To ensure all employees are prepared for emergencies and know how to act appropriately, testing should be done on a regular basis.


What are the benefits of developing a Business Continuity Plan?

The most obvious advantage of a BCP is that your business is ready for unforeseen disruptions and can quickly resume operations. It might also help to minimise downtime and potential losses, saving your business time and money.

Having a continuity plan in place may also be necessary to satisfy compliance or other industry regulations.

Not to mention, as a small business owner, you now have the peace of mind knowing a well-written and implemented business continuity policy is in place.


How often should you review your BCP?

Plan frequent reviews to make sure your BCP is current. Your business will determine how frequently this occurs.


Tips for maintaining a successful Business Continuity Plan

Have a BCP in place before any disruptions occur.

  • Develop clear objectives and goals.
  • Identify key personnel and resources.
  • Regularly review and update the plan.
  • Regularly test the plan.
  • Regularly communicate the plan to employees.
  • Ensure it remains compliant with industry regulations.
  • Work with stakeholders to ensure ongoing effectiveness.


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Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. Go to for a copy. The Target Market Determination is also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. This information is intended to be of a general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.