Ted Hickman

The Simple Guide to Contingency Planning

This year has made us all too aware of how life can change in a split second and whilst we couldn’t have planned for the pandemic, there are lessons we can learn from it. There are businesses succeeding during this difficult time, due to having a strong contingency plan in place, so it’s important other businesses take this onboard.

In this article we will look at what a contingency plan is and how to build and implement it into your business strategy.

What is a contingency plan?

A contingency plan is a process we make in case a situation occurs that requires a business to change their offering or strategy. Basically, it is a backup plan.

A business may have one or several contingency plans depending on how many ‘risks’ they foresee. It’s unlikely many businesses had a worldwide pandemic in their plans, but perhaps now owners will start to think differently.

What should be included

In order to develop a contingency plan, the potential risks must be identified. There are several ways of doing this. Firstly, consider having an offline and online plan to ensure you are not too reliant on one particular format.

Secondly, consider both the macro and micro environments along with the marketing mix. This will ensure you cover most foreseeable risks to your business and target audience.

You should include the below in any contingency plan, but other sub-categories may be added depending on the risk.

  • The risk
  • Potential impacts
    • Resources
    • Staff
    • Finances
    • Environmental
  • The plan
  • Implementation plan

How to build your plan

Start by identifying who needs to be included in the planning process, remember a plan will only work if all stakeholders are on the same page.

Create an official document – This will encourage employees to take its contents seriously. This can be online or kept with other paper files, but it will need to be updated regularly to stay current, meaning online is probably the best option.

Your plan should be created over a series of weeks and as above, can be adapted when necessary or when other risks present themselves. Don’t rush in creating the document, this must be researched in order to be effective.

Once the plan is ready, you can sit back and relax knowing that if anything was to happen, the business and its stakeholders are prepared.

How to implement your plan

We make contingency plans in case something happens that would otherwise disrupt the business. If the worst was to happen, then it’s important that employers have a plan of implementation.

This means considering who will manage the required activity in each department and how quickly things will need to change. The ideal situation is that this is already in your contingency plan, but on the off chance it is not, you must consider the most effective ways to communicate the messaging.

Online communication via email and social media is one of the most effective ways to communicate in this era. However, if each manager is up to date or has access to the contingency document, then all departments will instantly be directed in a way that the business has agreed, making life easier for everyone.

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