Business recovery and continuity: planning for multiple scenarios

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Has your business undergone a major disruption or setback recently?

As your company moves toward the resumption of operations, one of the first tasks should be to put together a business recovery and continuity plan that forces your team to push past immediate and short-term thinking.

If you’re able to pause during the crisis (instead of waiting until it’s nearly over) and begin creating a medium-term plan for how your company should adapt its operations, then you’ll be better prepared to outperform businesses that wait to adjust.

There are three identifiable phases of crisis recovery:

  1. Reaction
  2. Adjustment
  3. (Re)build

By working through each phase with your leadership team, you can increase the effectiveness of both company and stakeholder responses with business scenario planning:

  • First, examine any externalities and projected market movements.
  • Then, compare those outside variables against your current capabilities.
  • Finally, prepare your business for the emerging opportunities that result.

The crisis recovery cycle

A crisis could be any significant market, industry or internal disruption, severe economic downturn or a pandemic. Or, it could be internal (like a business scandal).

Phase 1: Reaction

This is your immediate response to what has just happened. Your focus should be on:

  • Adopting a mindset of agility to become a flexible, supportive leader
  • Assessing the situation and determining the nature of the crisis (single instance or episodic)
  • Considering the economic situation, any resulting industry forces or reactions, and identifying how other companies are adjusting or taking action
  • Evaluating cash position and burn rates, as well as how to facilitate essential operations
  • Gathering inputs or information to start initial planning for short- to immediate-term stabilization
  • Creating and sticking to a communication plan for your team (employees) and stakeholders in your business (customers, vendors, partners, investors, board, etc.)

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