It might not be possible to see all the possible causes of disruption to our business, but by using business continuity management a firm can make a good evaluation of the impacts which would have the greatest effect on our ability to continue trading. A business thereby improves its ability to manage and recover from incidents when they do arise.

The commonly held view, with research support, is that small business has not embraced Business Continuity Management (BCM) in the same way larger organisations have.

Why might this be the case?

BCM is perceived by many small businesses as red tape, expensive and a big company issue. This is not the case. Business continuity can be very valuable to small firms and can save valuable time and money.

The trick to BCM is to understand the vulnerabilities of your business to specific events and their impact. Getting to know your business and processes involved by carrying out a Business Impact Analysis may help you operate more effectively, and the BCI even provide a DVD to help explain the process. This is not about giving the consultant your watch to tell you the time; it is just good business sense.

The trick to BCM is to understand the vulnerabilities of your business to specific events and their impact
It is a framework for thinking about your business and who and what you rely upon. The impact of a major incident may be a loss of access to a site or office, a severe and prolonged shortage of staff, a loss of IT or telecommunications, fuel shortages or transport network disruption; it may even be a key business partner going under.

The BCI's role

We are interested in promoting Business Continuity Management within the UK economy - small business is the entrepreneurial engine of the economy and key wealth creator. Ensuring that the engine is resilient is a key objective for us. Our members either work within organisations as practitioners or provide services to organisations that want to understand and improve their resiliency. Many of the latter are, in fact, small businesses as well.

Are there any hard money benefits?

Some organisations have looked to their insurance companies for a reduced premium through adopting BCM practices. While it would be fair to say that the response is not universally positive, it does put SMEs in a stronger position to assess risk if BCM practices are used.

Other organisations are seeing an advantage in marketing their 'resilience' to potential customers and are winning new business as a result. In a downturn, this may be a timely and reassuring message to customers.

Local and regional government have also been tasked with helping small business become more resilient. Today these activities are financed through emergency planning budgets and many local authorities have established Local Resilience Forums. It is worth checking out what is on offer here with your local authority.

For more information and to download the free Good Practice Guidelines (GPG) from the Business Continuity Institute, please visit