BCP Step 1: Initiate & Commit

Initiating a Business Continuity Program (BCP) is the first, and arguably the most difficult part, of the 5 steps of a BCP. As with most projects, establishing goals and expectations early on will help guide the rest of the project and is required to be successful. By completing Step 1, you will learn the benefits of investing in a business continuity program (BCP), what to consider before starting a BCP, how to initiate a BCP, and how to draft a preparedness policy. Resources are available, linked in the text as well as accessible in the “Resources” section, to guide you through Step 1: Initiate & Commit. Remember, these guidelines are basic knowledge and you are encouraged to tailor them to meet your specific business’s needs.
Most importantly, remember that you will need to commit to regular testing, followed by proper adjustments, and commit to incorporating the BCP into your business’s culture.

Benefits of investing in a BCP

  • Businesses are vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters, and a good amount never recovery from large incidents.
  • Customers and clients expect goods and services in a timely manner–something that may be hard to achieve following a disaster.
  • A supply chain could be disrupted by one incident, and businesses who do not recover may become less competitive in the market.
  • Insurance packages may not cover all types of disasters.
  • Large-scale disasters may overwhelm the resources of public agencies.
  • A business could lose its perceived reputation, requiring a need to act quickly.
  • Disasters, or small incidents which are not handled correctly, affect the bottom line.

What to consider before starting a BCP

Anyone interested in starting a BCP should ask the following questions and research the answers:

  • What laws and regulations is our business subject to?
  • How much risk can my business tolerate? How severe? How much recovery time is too long?
  • What resources are available to our business to aid during and after a disaster?

How to initiate the BCP

Initiating a BCP may be difficult, as it is hard to quantify the benefits of such investments. However, steps to initiate a BCP that may be considered:

  • Garner buy-in from key management, if they are not the ones initiating the program.
  • Appoint a program director and program committee. Make sure to discuss how knowledge will be shared, maintained, and safely stored throughout the program. The committee should be diverse, and contain members from all deparments, if possible. These members will provide input and help draft the inputs of the BCP. One may also consider inviting external partners to join the commintee, or take part in certain aspects of implementation. For example, the local fire department to assist and/or be notified of drills.
  • Define the goals and mission of the BCP. Use parts of the already established business mission statement and focus how a BCP will fit into business culture. Sample goals include:
  1. Protect the safety of employees, visitors, etc.
  2. Maintain customer service.
  3. Protect physical facility and assets.
  4. Prevent environmental contamination.
  5. Protect reputation and brand.
  • Decide how to administer the program, including a timeline, who is to be included, etc.

How to draft a preparedness policy

After considering the benefits and goals/mission of the BCP, the results should be placed in writing. Drafting a preparedness policy that is consistent with the the mission, vision, and goals established for the BCP should be written and disseminated by management. The policy should define roles and responsibilities for staff so they know what is expected of them throughout the process. The policy should also contain the list of BCP committee members, authorizing them to develop the program and keep it current.
[Source: Ready.gov]

Continue to Step 2: Identify & Assess



Recovery time objective: the point in time when a function or process must be recovered, before unacceptable consequences could occur. [Source: Ready.gov]