How to Create a Business Recovery Plan

On 22 May 2011, John Motazedi, CEO of computer services firm SNC Squared, stood in a field in Joplin, Missouri, looking at the vast empty space littered with debris where his office had been standing a few hours before.

“After the tornado, I could do a 360 degree turn and there was nothing left standing. The tornado was so strong it blew the bark off the trees and peeled asphalt up in parking lots,” he said.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Amazingly, Motazedi got his company back up and running just five hours after the tornado flattened his office. Within 72 hours of coming back online, SNC Squared had all of its clients in a position to conduct business.

How was he able to do this? Motazedi said that the company was saved by its 10-page disaster recovery plan, and the foresight to keep a data backup off-site.

Business disaster recovery is the process by which you resume business following a disruptive event. While said disaster is unlikely to be a tornado here in the UK, we are currently in the midst of an economic catastrophe. Much like a tornado, the rocky economy has wreaked havoc on businesses, leaving destruction in its wake and directors and employees alike in a spin.

As any business knows all too well, time is money, and a business recovery plan can prevent you losing both. As such, every business should have one – but many do not. This is especially true for small firms, which can go out of business in an instant.

Top tips for a successful business recovery plan

  • Identify critical people – Make a list of people who fill positions without which your business is doomed. Create step-by-step instructions on what each person must do should the worst happen and ensure they are aware of these responsibilities.
  • Identify essential documents – You should have everything available that would be necessary to start your business up from scratch. Think legal papers, banking information, tax returns etc. Likewise, now is the time to back up PC documents.
  • Take it seriously – Treat your business recovery plan like gold dust; it will prove invaluable in the event of an emergency. Keep it safe in a ring binder, make copies and remember to keep one off-site as well.
  • Request the help of professionals. Depending on the nature of your disaster, experts are specially trained to help with cashflow planning, funding options, formal insolvency options, securing payment plans for PAYE/NI and VAT arrears etc.

About the Author: Sarah Rogers graduated from the London School of Economics in 2006 and has since developed an ever-increasing passion for all things finance, which is not only integral to her career as a business analyst but also plays a part in her spare time as she blogs about her own stance on the current economic climate.