This business continuity plan for small businesses in Nigeria will ensure you are crisis-proofed during this unprecedented pandemic.
We are experiencing unprecedented upheaval in our way of life. But, even in these uncertain times, you don’t have to close shop. These 6-step business continuity framework from NECA will help you create a business continuity plan.
The Federal government of Nigeria has extended the total lockdown of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun by an extra two weeks. That’s four weeks of little to no business and economic activities in the two major cities in the country.
Small businesses are the most hard hit by this shutdown. But, of course, regardless of whether there’s restrictions on movements or not – they show must go on.
Yesterday, it hit home just how uncertain the business terrain is especially for small businesses. So, last night, while my wife and I were on our nightly round of shopping we ran into our local barber, Israel.
We greeted as usual (while keeping our distance)
Me: What’s up Israel, how’s this lockdown treating you?
Israel: Ha…bros, it has not been easy. Everywhere is dry now oh.
Me: Yeah…it’s everywhere my brother. We’ll get through this sha.
Israel: (switches to pidgin) E be like say my own worse bros. (Translation: It appears I’m having it worse.)
Me: (In Pidgin) wetin hapen nah? (Translation: What happened?)
Israel: Ha…bros leave am oh. People no dey commot barb again. And taskforce people dey patrol everywhere. (Translation: Never mind. People are no longing coming to have their haircut. And the taskforce set up by the government is patrolling the streets.)
Israel: But…sha, I don dey do home service now. You fit call me make I come house barb you. (translation: I’ve started home service now. You can call me when you want your hair cut so I can come over.)
Me: Sure thing.
Many small business owners like Israel are caught up in the same dilemma. For most the shutdown has forced them to close shop. Others have had to massively limit their operations. Still, there are those that have had to find new ways to serve their customers.
One thing however, is common to all these category of business owners: They want answers to how to minimize the impact of the shutdown on their business.
How do they keep their business open in the face of COVID-19 pandemic? In short, how do they create an effective business continuity plan?
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The Nigerian Employer’s Consultative Association, NECA has developed a detailed business continuity plan that helps you:
- Assess the level of risk and vulnerability of your business; and
- Develop an effective risk and contingency system for the business.
The business continuity plan will help you determine your business’s risk across the four P’s: Your people, your processes, profits and partnerships.
How to Answer the NECA Business Continuity Plan
Beside each question in the Part 1 of the plan are two ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ boxes. Indicate your answer with an X.
To estimate how much risk your business is exposed to, add up the number of times you answered ‘Yes’. Answer ‘Yes’ if you are not sure or don’t know a question.
PART A: Estimating your business’s vulnerability
What your score means
The Risk score, regardless of what it is, does not indicate how bad or good your business is. It merely shows to what extend your business is vulnerable to unexpected events like the COVID-19 crisis.
Your Risk score should give you a pretty good idea of which area of your business is more prone to shocks.
So, according to a Proshareng interpretation, here’s what each score means:
|40–61||Your enterprise is highly vulnerable to the negative impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Your enterprise is quite likely to be severely impacted, which may cause long-term disruption in the event of a deterioration of the situation. Your next plan of action should be to identify whether you are most vulnerable to internal or external threats and take measures to reduce risk and vulnerability to COVID-19.|
|20-40||Despite having taken some action to increase preparedness, your enterprise remains vulnerable. Understand whether your threats are internal or external and make sure to prioritize your elements of vulnerability when establishing your business continuity plan.|
|0–20||You are on the right path towards becoming more resilient, but there are still some areas where you could reduce your vulnerability. Make sure to establish your business continuity plan in a way to manage risk of your internal and external threats.|
PART B: 6-Step Framework to Create Business Continuity Plan for Small Businesses in Nigeria
Follow these six NECA recommended steps to create a business continuity plan for your organization.
Step 1: Identify your key products or services
What are your most important products or services? Consider the following criteria:
- Share of income they generate;
- Amount of clients demanding them; and
- Cost of non-delivery: negative financial, productivity and reputational consequences.
Step 2: Establish the objective of your BCP
What do you want to achieve by establishing your BCP?
Step 3: Evaluate the potential impact of disruptions to your enterprise and workers
How long can interruptions last before becoming unacceptable? What are the resources required and the suppliers, partners and contractors needed to conduct key operations?
Step 4: List action to protect your business
Use the 4Ps framework to do this. Actions to minimize risk to your: People, Processes, Profits and Partnerships (the “4Ps”).
- People: lives of workers and family members
- Processes: enterprise operations
- Profits: revenue generation
- Partnerships: enabling environment to carry out business operations
Step 5: Establish contact lists
More of your activity will be non-physical (WhatsApp calls, zoom meetings etc). Make sure you have accurate and update lists of all your key stakeholders.
Step 6: Maintain, review and continuously update your BCP
Now you have your business continuity document ready, however, your job is not yet done. The Business Continuity Plan is a living document.
As you get more data and as prevailing circumstances changes, you need to update, review and tweak your plan to align with your current reality.
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These are unprecedented times – businesses are shutdown across the country, the government is overstretched and nobody can truly say when things will return to normal.
But, with the business continutity plan, you and your business can at least, adapt to the new normal.
The Framework above will ensure you create a continuity plan that is personalized and tailored to your unique business circumstances.
Stay safe. We are in this together and together we’ll overcome.