How long does it take to create a business continuity plan?

Blogs 1 Mar 2020

An effective business continuity plan is essential to keep your business on track in uncertain time but how long does it take to put an effective one together?

Creating a business continuity plan is essential for any company to make sure it can keep running following a major disruption or disaster.  An effective business continuity plan should provide the step-by-step process of what you  need to do to keep your business operating successfully in such circumstances.

But how long does it take to create one? This guide aims to help.

Different time spans for different businesses

When first considering how long it takes to create a business continuity plan, it’s important to mention that there’s not a set agreed time span for every business. While some experts claim they could put one together in less than a week, other companies say the process will take around two months.

The truth is, the length of time it takes to create a business continuity plan can differ for every business. This is because the different types, sizes and locations of businesses can mean there are different things to consider when thinking about how they would continue to run that business effectively.

For instance, when putting together a business continuity plan, you should first take time to determine the areas within the company These include:

  • Key business processes – such as production, sales or accounting
  • Key resources – for instance, staff, equipment and data
  • Threats to the company – like natural disasters, a major power cut, or a malicious internet attack
  • The impact of those threats – for example, loss of sales, poor product quality, and a fall in customer satisfaction

The different processes and greater resources of some businesses, however, can mean it may take them longer to complete this part of a business continuity plan than it might take other companies.

For example: A manufacturing company, which is based in an open area near a river that’s prone to flooding, for instance, with more processes, resources and company threats, might require more time to gather all this information than a different business would, such as  a high-street retailer located in a built-up area, which has fewer processes and resources to rely on, and may be less likely to be affected by threats.

You can learn more about the processes, resources and threats you might need to consider for your company in our helpful guide, How to create a business continuity plan.

Factors affecting duration of business continuity planning

In addition to these areas, there are other factors that can increase or decrease the time it takes to create a business continuity plan. This can range from the knowledge you have of your company’s location to the number of reliable staff you have available to help put your plan together.  

Factors that can decrease the timespan could include:

Local knowledge – Having good knowledge of the geographical areas which surround your current business location can help when determining a suitable contingency location to run your business from, as well as places from which to source emergency equipment. If you havelittle knowledge, you’ll probably need to spend more time doing research for suitable locations or places to access key resources.

Key Contacts – Having a book of business contacts can quickly provide you with a good starting point to find useful people that you can list in your continuity plan. These could be business professionals who could give you access to particular resources, or provide vital information that you might need to set up your contingency business successfully. If you don’t have many contacts, you might feel like you have to start from scratch when determining things such as where and how to source your contingency resources.     

Reliable staff – Having committed staff, who you can rely on, and involve in, creating your business contingency plan, could enable you to delegate the work needed to complete different sections and finalise the plan more quickly. This could include researching, collecting company details, or putting information together. You could have team meetings to initially discuss the plan and quickly determine key areas that should be included. Whereas if you have to complete your plan by yourself, the process could take you much longer.

Other factors that can help you create an effective business plan in good time, include:

  • Well-researched information
  • A team of experienced people to help
  • Business expertise and knowledge

Quality over time for effective business continuity planning

Duration aside, when creating a continuity plan for your business, your aim should be to ensure it works and will be fully effective should you need it months, or years, down the line.

While there are factors that can help speed up the time you take to complete your plan, it’s important to point out that you should put quality as a priority above your aims to complete it quickly.