The coronavirus has powerfully impacted businesses of all sizes and exposed the lack of business continuity planning. No matter how well run your eCommerce business is, disaster can strike. Without the correct preparation, your business will struggle to make it through unplanned turmoil like natural disasters, cyberattacks, and even COVID-19. It has never been more clear that business continuity planning is crucial. In this post, we will explain why your eCommerce business needs a well-designed continuity plan.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
A disaster of any kind can threaten your eCommerce business. Physical disasters (extreme weather events) or technological disasters (cyberattacks) are the most common types that disrupt businesses, but unforeseen events like the coronavirus can have equally adverse effects. Essentially, a business continuity plan is a description of how your business will survive and unexpected disasters. The plan outlines all of the steps and processes that will keep the business up and running throughout the major disaster, and then the steps for recovery after. Business continuity planning is part of the larger realm of disaster recovery planning, and it is crucial for helping your business survive in the midst of an unexpected event.
Advantages of Continuity Planning
A business continuity plan is not optional, it is absolutely necessary for all businesses. Any disruptions may cost you a lot of time and money and can impact your business long after the disaster. Without a business continuity plan, you can expect loss of customers, a negative impact on your reputations, and financial loss. Here are the top reasons you need a continuity plan:
Keep Business Operations Running
Businesses who have been able to adapt to the restrictions of COVID and keep their operations running smoothly are not experiencing anywhere near the financial loss as businesses who have had to stop their operations. Your continuity plan can help you keep operations running and therefore reduce the financial loss and skepticism.
Maintain Your Supply Chain
Disasters, like the current coronavirus pandemic, can cause severe supply chain disruptions. Other disasters, like natural disasters, are likely to do the same. If you rely solely on one supply chain, you will be in big trouble. Your plan should detail the best methods to circumvent supply chain disruptions.
Stay Ahead of Competition
Keeping your business moving throughout a disruption show customers that your brand is among the best. Customers closely watch brands in times of turmoil to see how they react. A well-planned, poise response will build trust with customers and ultimately give you an edge over your competitors.
Reduce Financial Risk
Many businesses never fully recover from a disaster because they are unable to recover from the financial loss they experienced during the disaster. Reacting quickly will help you reduce the financial loss. Longer downtime only means a greater potential for financial loss. Your continuity plan will help you react quickly and restore function as soon as you can, which mitigates your financial risk.
Qualities of a Sound Continuity Plan
No matter how much you plan, you can never plan for every single curveball you may face. Inherently, your plan must be adaptable in order to be effective. There should be enough room in your plan to adjust to unexpected circumstances. The plan should also include continuous monitoring so that you can accurately pivot based on the specific situation.
Your plan is only useful if it can actually be carried out, and is practical. Your plan must also be realistic and filled with the necessary contingencies. Take your resources and team into account so that you design a plan that you can actually execute.
While your business continuity plan does not need to be bare-bones simple, it does need to be efficient. You must be able to quickly and efficiently execute the plan with your current resources. Keep in mind that disasters and unforseen situations can make even typical tasks more challenging to accomplish.
It is impossible to plan for every single potential disaster that can strike. Few people would have seen COVID-19 and its worldwide effects coming. What we can learn from this difficult time is that you must expect the unexpected. Create backup plans and consider all of the potential factors. Instead of assuming your first plan will work, assume everything could go wrong and decide how you can respond. Test as many aspects of your plan as possible, and focus on creating a comprehensive business continuity plan for your eCommerce store.
Start Business Continuity Planning Today
The future is uncertain. Some businesses may never experience a major disruption, but most businesses did not expect the coronavirus pandemic either. Even if the current state of the world is a once-in-a-lifetime event, it is likely that your eCommerce business will experience some challenges. An effective business continuity plan will help keep your business moving during unexpected disasters, which will give you a competitive edge and reduce your financial losses.
Before you can begin creating your plan, you must first streamline your daily operations. That’s where we come in. Listing Mirror has the #1 multichannel listing software that will make order fulfillment, inventory syncing, warehouse management, and listing management easier than ever. Learn more about how Listing Mirror can help your eCommerce business, or get started with your risk-free trial HERE.
Erin is the Co-Founder of Listing Mirror.