Where can you find the best small business continuity plan example PDF?
In this article, we’ll answer that question – and we’ll even provide an easy-to-use continuity plan template that can be used when designing one’s own plan.
PDFs can be invaluable resources when developing one’s own plan, since they offer a real-world example to work from.
In some cases, it is possible to find business continuity plan PDFs online, though these often belong to larger organizations or institutions. Small businesses rarely have the same communication needs as larger businesses, so they are less likely to publish their continuity plans publicly.
There are workarounds, though, which we’ll discuss below.
Where Are the Best Small Business Continuity Plan Example PDFs?
Here are some research tips for finding the best business continuity plan PDFs online:
- Use the “filetype” search operator to find PDFs. Search operators are special words that can significantly narrow down the results of a search. For instance, using “filetype:PDF” will restrict search results to PDFs – no web pages will show up on the results page. Another is the “site:” operator. Using “site:*.org” will only reveal search results that have a “.org” extension, which can be a useful way to create more targeted searches.
- Search for the right keywords. “Business continuity plan” is the most obvious and appropriate set of keywords to search for. However, depending on the circumstances, it may be useful to search for related terms, such as “emergency response plan,” “disaster recovery plan,” “IT disaster recovery,” and so forth.
- Target your industry. The most relevant and useful example PDFs will come from one’s own industry. Adding industry-related keywords, therefore, can help eliminate continuity plans from irrelevant industries. For example, if a local financial firm is searching for example PDFs, then PDFs from that industry would be most useful, while sample plans from other industries, such as finance, would be far less relevant.
- Narrow by country. Every country has its own requirements, regulations, and conventions surrounding continuity plans. For that reason, it pays to restrict search results to organizations from within the same country. Search operators can be useful for this as well – using the “*.co.uk” search operator, for example, will only reveal search results from domains in the United Kingdom.
Each of these steps is designed to narrow the search results further and further, focusing in on only the most relevant results.
Ideally, it will be possible to find an example of a continuity plan from one’s own country and one’s own industry.
Since there can be a great deal of variety in both the format and the content of these plans, this type of search method can be very useful for finding the most appropriate plans.
A Small Business Continuity Plan Template
Though real-world business continuity plans can be very useful, they also come with caveats. A real-world business continuity plan, for example, may not be following best practices. Or it may be missing key information that should be included.
These factors will depend on who created the document. And in the case of small businesses, there is a chance that the plan was not created by a business continuity professional, but by someone else within the organization.
Fortunately, there is a simple remedy – use both a template and a real-world example PDF as source material.
Here is a template that covers the most important material to include in a small business continuity plan:
- General Introduction – At the outset of the report, it is important to introduce readers to the report. The cover page and the first page, for example, can include the report title, its most recent revision date, the target business unit, and the document maintainer.
- The Scope and Purpose – Every report should have a very specific scope, covering only certain types of disruptions and certain business units. The purpose of the continuity plan will also vary: some focus on protecting key business units, others on disaster recovery, and others on both of the above.
- Business Continuity Team Structure – The business continuity team will be responsible for implementing the plan, so that team’s information should naturally be included in the report. The person’s name, contact details, and their roles and responsibilities should be included in this section.
- Training and Exercises – Employee training is necessary in order to ensure that the business continuity team can successfully implement the plan. Also, drills and exercises can give that team the chance to demonstrate and test their knowledge, while also testing the feasibility of the plan.
- Plan Activation Procedure – These activities will be initiated at the very start of a plan. In almost all cases, the first step is to contact all the members of the business continuity team, as well as business leaders and other relevant personnel. An emergency response plan may also be conducted at this stage, depending on the nature of the disruption.
- Protect Key Functions and Maintain Operations – To maintain continuous business operations during a disruption or disaster, it is necessary to implement a set of specific measures. Those measures, like most of the other steps in the plan, will depend on the type of disruption. An organization that wants to maintain employee productivity when a fire compromises the workplace, for instance, may implement a remote working policy or relocation procedures.
- Restoration and Recovery – Though the protection of key business units is vital to maintaining operations, it is only a temporary measure. Business continuity plans and disaster recovery plans should also outline actions required to return the business back to its normal state, along with timelines and measurable recovery objectives.
- Supplemental Materials – At the end of each plan, include an appendix with required documents and forms. These can include status reports, employee feedback forms, communications templates, time logs, expense logs, and any other information that would be required.
A business continuity plan should be a one-stop resource for any professional using it, which is why it is so important to include everything relevant inside the pages of the report.
Visit our change management blog for more information on small business continuity plans.