How To Pitch Your Business Continuity Plan To Management & The Board

business continuity plan

Are you 100% confident that the pitch you’re preparing for your business continuity plan will result in full management support?

For most business continuity (BC) practitioners, the answer is usually no.

Why is it so difficult to convey the value of your business continuity program to higher-ups? Because most organizations measure value by return on investment (ROI), making it difficult to evaluate initiatives—like BC—that don’t clearly add revenue to the bottom line. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to win them over. A good business continuity plan by definition has several impactful payoffs that deliver value, as long as your organization puts in the time to get it right.

But it all starts with you—the business continuity program manager. Following are my recommendations on how to set yourself up for success as you start formulating your pitch.

For specifics on how to place an ROI-like value on your business continuity program that will appeal to management, download this free guide. 

3-Step Guide To Showing Business Continuity Value

1. Gather Background Knowledge

There are three components to the knowledge-gathering phase:

  • Identify reasons why your organization needs a business continuity plan. Is it a requirement that your company comply with business continuity regulations, either because of the nature of your business (finance, healthcare, etc.) or because of contractual arrangements with your customers? Even if neither of these situations apply, practicing business continuity makes good business sense. The odds are you will endure a disruption whether it directly or indirectly impacts you. We all need survival strategies whether we want them or not, though some businesses have a greater need than others.
  • Know your business. Be the most knowledgeable person in the company when it comes to understanding the criticality of business operations. Which processes have the greatest impact on the survival of the company? Which are most susceptible to potential threats?
  • Understand the threats. Know the threats (human, natural, manmade, etc.) to your organization that could impact its critical operations

2. Build The “What If?” Scenarios

Using the information you gathered above, think of a short scenario (10-15 minutes) you could use to demonstrate the need for business continuity plans for your critical operations. The disruption could be either direct (i.e., fire, hurricane, etc.) or indirect (a critical supplier failure, for instance). Run through the impacts of such a scenario—on people, processes, and technology—without business continuity plans, and determine their significance.

Then, run the scenario again, this time with a BC process in place. Determine how the different components of BC (crisis management, business recovery, and disaster recovery) minimize the impacts to people, processes, and technology, and how they affect the continued operations of the company.

3. Present The Reality

For your actual pitch to management, keep these three things in mind:

  • Speak their language. Talk in business terms about why you need plans to protect the critical operations that drive customer service, operations, and revenue. Don’t use acronyms (RTO, RPO, BIA, etc.), but do mention concepts like operations disruption, inability to deliver products/services, and customer service impacts. Tell why it’s critical to develop strategies to restore operations in a timely way that minimizes business impacts.
  • Run them through the “what if?” scenarios—with and without business continuity plans. First, set the scene by asking for input on how the group would address the disruptive event with no plans in place. Then, go through the scenario again with BC plans, emphasizing the difference in outcome. Be ready with actual data to compare the two alternatives.
  • Close with a roadmap to success. Present a roadmap that outlines your approach to implementing business continuity plans in a phased approach over time.

Are you prepared to demonstrate the value of your business continuity program to management?

Learning to speak management’s language is the key to gaining their support. While the above steps are a good start in formulating your management pitch, you’ll need much more than that to completely win them over.

We’ve created this free guide outlining the numerous ways you can tie your business continuity program to the company’s bottom line. It also includes information on how to put an ROI-like value on your program, and a checklist with all the necessary talking points for your management presentation. With this guide in hand, you can be 100% confident in your pitch—and well on your way to getting the support your program needs. Download it today.

Michael Herrera is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MHA. In his role, Michael provides global leadership to the entire set of industry practices and horizontal capabilities within MHA. Under his leadership, MHA has become a leading provider of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery services to organizations on a global level. He is also the founder of BCMMETRICS, a leading cloud based tool designed to assess business continuity compliance and residual risk. Michael is a well-known and sought after speaker on Business Continuity issues at local and national contingency planner chapter meetings and conferences. Prior to founding MHA, he was a Regional VP for Bank of America, where he was responsible for Business Continuity across the southwest region.

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