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Running a business successfully needs a very clear understanding of how to meet your clients' wants and needs, regardless of the market conditions. Business continuity plans assist companies to stay running during economic downturns, natural disasters, supply chain, and technological break downs just to name a few.

The government has laid bare the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry, with a warning that at least 477,000 jobs will be lost and revenues drop by 77 per cent should the pandemic persist beyond October this year. The minister revealed that earnings from tourism will also decrease from $2.6 billion (About Sh6 trillion) projected earlier to $598 million (Sh1.4 trillion), a whopping 77 percent decline.

According to a survey conducted from April 23 to May 12 in 2020, approximately 79 percent of business enterprises in the Japanese transportation industry stated that they already experienced an impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their corporate activities. Adding the share of companies which foresaw a possible impact on their business in the near future, close to 98 percent of the companies considered that they were somewhat affected by the outbreak of coronavirus.

Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, business leaders are realizing the importance and need of having a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) because the majority of the businesses could not foresee that this disaster will bring all operations to an abrupt halt. Every company needs to have a recovery plan.

A snapshot of tax and other legislative changes as presented in the 2020 – 21 budget speech by the Minister of Finance on June 11, 2020. The proposed tax measures are expected to become effective on 1 July 2020.

What Is Business Continuity Planning (BCP)?

Business continuity planning (BCP) is the process involved in creating a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company. The plan ensures that personnel and assets are protected and can function quickly in the event of a disaster. The BCP is generally conceived in advance and involves input from key stakeholders and personnel. The key components the plan should include:

  • Determining how those risks will affect operations
  • Applying safeguards and procedures to mitigate the risks
  • Testing procedures to ensure they work
  • Reviewing the process to make sure that it is up to date
  • Succession plans for key employees
  • Identification of critical functions with priority identified
  • All employees’ contact information and role in the plan

Why Organizations need a Business Continuity Plan

An all-inclusive business continuity plan forces business leaders to evaluate the weaknesses and threats to their organizations from an isolated perspective. The process of creating a continuity plan can raise apprehensions about employee development, communication between management and employees, and intellectual property security just to name a few. Solid plans can assure teams that company leaders understand how to navigate and keep the company afloat during challenging times.

Creating a business continuity plan involves assessing leadership, employees, resources, and corporate strategies. The process itself can highlight weaknesses an organization can correct long before facing an urgent situation. A continuity plan requires you understand all of your assets and resources, and how they might be compromised. This begins with completing an extensive inventory of your operation, not forgetting the workforce, the equipment and computer networks you use, and properties you own.

You should also include lists of clients, suppliers, vendors and so on. This information could come in handy, not only during the planning process, but also in a disaster situation.

The company's future depends on the people and processes. Being able to handle any incident effectively can have a positive effect on the company's reputation and market value, and it can increase customer confidence.

Having a well-documented business continuity plan in advance, and training your employees to follow it, gets everyone on the same page helping to ensure an organized, safe and timely recovery.

In 2012, a study done by Travelers came to the conclusion that 48% of business owners had no business continuity plan in place, 48% of small businesses are functioning without a plan and yet an alarming 95% feel like their business is prepared for disaster. That means business continuity planning is more than smart business, it helps your company remain better positioned to recover from the business interruption, property damage, financial impact, and loss of life that a natural disaster or man-made event may cause.

What business leaders need to understand is that the time spent on development and maintenance of the company’s business continuity plan is an investment to the company. Whether or the business is opened, your fixed costs will continue even after the event. The faster companies can return their operations to normal, the more likely you will recover from the event successfully. With so much at stake, your company cannot afford to not have a plan.

To give your organization the best shot at success during a disaster, you need to put a current, tested plan in the hands of all personnel responsible for carrying out any part of that plan. The lack of a plan doesn't just mean your organization will take longer than necessary to recover from an event or incident. You could go out of business for good.

Business Impact Analysis

Chance and uncertainty are part of the world we live in. We cannot predict what tomorrow will bring or whether a disaster will occur—but this doesn’t mean that we cannot plan for it.

Business impact analysis plays an integral part on the BCP, they are sets of data that form the foundation of a strong business continuity plan. The purpose is to think through all possible disasters that could take place, assess the risk, quantify the impact, determine the loss, and develop a plan to deal with the incidents that seem most likely to occur. As a result, the BIA should present a clear picture of what is needed to continue an operation if a disaster occurs. The individuals responsible for the BIA must look at the organization from many different angles and use information from a variety of inputs.

The general steps that should be followed to implement BIA are as follows:

  • Determine data-gathering techniques.
  • Gather business impact analysis data.
  • Identify critical business functions and resources.
  • Verify completeness of data.
  • Establish recovery time for operations.
  • Define recovery alternatives and costs.