Skip to content
Go to GoCardless homepage
Pricing
Log inSign up

How to use a business continuity template

According to Mercer, a shocking 51% of companies have no business continuity plan in place to deal with a global emergency. Though worldwide pandemics are a rarity, businesses should take a proactive approach to dealing with disaster, especially as it can take many other forms. A plan based around pandemic conditions is a good place to start but how would your company deal with a large-scale cyber-attack or extensive damage to property? As such, a business continuity plan is vital. If you haven’t already put one in place, our guide will show you how.

What is a business continuity plan?

A business continuity (BC) plan is a document that outlines how a business will maintain or resume its operations during an event that causes severe disruption. It includes a risk assessment of possible threats and also prioritises which business functions to restore first. Having a tried and tested business continuity management plan in place allows your company to react quickly in adverse situations and gives staff a clear path for getting systems up and running.

Our business continuity plan template

This business continuity plan example will help you put the basics in place, giving you the option of expanding or refining the document later. Before you begin, you should decide who will be responsible for the document as well as how often it will be reviewed. Letting it grow stagnant is almost as bad as having no business continuity plan template at all. Note down every time revisions are made to make sure it stays as up to date as possible.

1. Staff contacts

Make a note of all key members of staff who will be needed to maintain the most basic needs of the company. List any contact information in the event that they cannot be reached at the main business site, as well as what role they play in the running of the business. If you also have an alternate site where resources and equipment can be relocated, make sure this information is included. At this stage, you may also wish to think about succession planning.

Name

Title

Contact information

Role in case of emergency

Diana Hart

Head of Finance

Home phone: 020 XXXXXXX

Email: diana.hart@emailaddress.com

Restoring payment functions

Location

Address

Contact information

Resources available

Site B Offices

2, Town Road, XX1 2XX

020 XXX XXXXX

Computers, internet, telephone system

2. Risk assessment

Think of any risks that could cause substantial disruption to your business. They could be external (e.g., criminal damage or extreme weather conditions) or they could be problems caused internally (e.g., mass illness, fire). List all the possible ways you can mitigate this risk as well as any long-term contingency plans you can put in place to restore key functions.

Example:

Nature of risk

Impact

Actions

Contingency Plan

Likelihood (H/M/L)

Fire damage to main site

High

Keep all fire safety equipment regularly checked

Facilitate a WFH scheme until damage is repaired or a new site found

L

Regular fire drills and training for staff

Lease a temporary office space

Backup data off site using cloud services

3. Prioritise business functions

Next, you should look at what processes are the most important for keeping your business running. Set a recovery time frame for each priority level (e.g. Priority A = restore within 12 hours, Priority B = restore within 48 hours) then assign a level to each process, noting what resources are needed to achieve this.

Priority Level

Business Function

Resources Required

A

Business contact centre

Call centre staff, phone redirection software, computers, internet access

4. Restoring communication channels

During an emergency, you will need to make sure that important information is relayed both to staff and any external stakeholders. Decide what information will need to be given in each scenario and who will act as spokesperson within your company. Bear in mind, you may not always have access to normal channels of communication during a crisis – always prepare alternatives.

Scenario

Messaging

Recipient

Spokesperson

Communication channels

Prolonged loss of stock management software

Take customer queries regarding orders. Note down any order numbers that have discrepancies. Process orders manually if possible.

All staff

Head of Buying

In person, phone, or email.

Inform of situation. Orders will take longer to ship due to temporary manual processes.

Customers

Head of Customer Service

Phone or email.

5. List minimum requirements & dependencies

Take a moment to think about the minimum requirements of your business, whether that’s in terms of personnel or physical resources. Make a list of absolute essentials and where they could be potentially sourced from in case the worst happens. An aspect of business continuity management that often goes overlooked is interdepartmental dependencies. Which areas of your business can operate by themselves? Can your business continue to operate remotely, if necessary? If there are any that need another department to operate, what can you do to minimise this risk?

Testing your business continuity plan

Once your plan is put into place, testing its feasibility is a must. Review the plan with other staff members and conduct simulations if possible. This will allow you to find any flaws and update your documentation accordingly. The business continuity plan sample listed above is designed to help you start thinking about all of the ‘what ifs’ that could occur if a disaster strikes. It never hurts to be prepared and it can help you think of contingencies for all areas of your business, whether you’re looking at how to continue working without internet access or thinking of ways to safeguard your payment system.

We can help

GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

GoCardless is used by over 55,000 businesses around the world. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

Learn moreSign Up

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Contact sales

Contact Us

Sales

Contact sales

help@gocardless.com

Support

help@gocardless.com

Seen 'GoCardless Ltd' on your bank statement? Learn more

GoCardless Ltd., 353 Sacramento St 9th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111, US

GoCardless (company registration number 07495895) is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017, registration number 597190, for the provision of payment services.