- High financial and opportunity costs: In the same way that $100 means more to a 2-person business than to a 200-person business, the proportional time and resource costs of business continuity planning are larger for small businesses than for larger corporations. Many find existing solutions complex, cumbersome or costly (in the case of targeted trainings) and are simply too time or budget constrained to prioritize.
- Unclear value proposition: Many existing tools and services do not effectively communicate the benefits of business continuity in the specific context of small businesses or its importance relative to the tasks required in day-to-day operations. It is not always clear what they stand to gain from business continuity planning or how other small businesses before them have benefitted. The content used can often appear irrelevant, whether because it is intended for a much larger corporation, or because it is not tailored to the small business's local context. This can be seen in the fact that there are few business continuity case studies or examples featuring small businesses.
- Lack of actionable guidance: Even when small businesses are convinced of the importance of business continuity and do choose to take the necessary steps, many publically-available tools are not actionable enough and do not provide answers to the questions: “What are the next steps? Why? And who’s taken those steps before me?”
Knowing this, the Business Preparedness Initiative was created to strengthen and prepare small businesses by providing free and size-appropropriate tools and services. Reverberating effects of the BPI will also strengthen relationships between the private and public sector and improve overall community resilience.
- The primary aim is to build the disaster resilience of small businesses.
- The secondary aim is to better position RC/RC national societies among business communities to facilitate multi-faceted investment toward safer communities.
BPI Program Elements
Led by the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) with the help of RC/RC national societies, the BPI will provide a mobile application (Atlas: Ready for Business) that small business owners and managers can use to assess their level of preparedness for natural and man-made disasters. Leveraging new Chatbot technology, the user will engage back and forth with an encouraging and knowledgeable human-like character, Atlas, to assess their level of preparedness. Integrating mobile gaming elements, the interactive tool will then take users through a series of modules and tasks to develop or improve upon their preparedness. These interactions will ultimately create an easily accessible Crisis and Recovery Plan for the small business which can then be use to provide employees with the proper training needed to address disaster situations appropriately and effectively. The BPI will also provide other wrap-around support tools and resources, such as workshops and guidance materials, that small businesses can use to strengthen their preparedness capabilities.
Ultimately, the BPI will:
- Build disaster resilience of small businesses and the communities that rely on their services
- Better position RC/RC national societies among business communities to invest in safer communities
Anticipated Outcomes and Benefits
The BPI provides large corporations, government, and business associations with the opportunity to engage with small businesses in their communities by forming coalitions for implementation that promote BPI tools and resources (mobile application and wrap-around resources). The overall benefit will be a better connected, well-informed, resilient community where large, medium, and small businesses alike will be able to work together to ensure quick disaster recovery.
Specifically, the BPI aims to promote and support:
- Quicker post-disaster recovery time for the entire community
- More resilient supply chains for larger businesses
- Reduced economic impact from disasters
- Stronger relationships between the public and private sector
- Stronger and more sustainable relationships between national societies and business community through earlier engagement and interaction
- Engagement of the business community as part of the larger civil society networks creating bridges between different stakeholders through the use of tangible tools and resources
- Wider insurance coverage and/or lower insurance premiums for small businesses
- Increased holistic and sustainable resilience effort globally
Why the GDPC and RC/RC Network?
The GDPC has a highly unique position within a large network to make an impact in the business preparedness field. As part of the International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the GPDC is linked to 190 national societies and over 160,000 branches and local units of the RC/RC network, illustrating a large distribution channel with diverse resources. Additionally, the RC/RC has a positive image and worldwide recognition with both public and private sectors. Due to these factors, the RC/RC network allows the GDPC to market these business preparedness tools and services globally. The GDPC will utilize its role to provide the network needed to increase entry points into business communities around the globe, while providing a relevant service and promoting stakeholders with a particular interest in business preparedness. Additionally, the abovementioned tools and services would be backed by the integrity and reputation of the RC/RC network.
The BPI also supports the IFRC-led One Billion Coalition for Resilience (1BC) by fostering partnerships in communities between the various stakeholders involved in the BPI ultimately strengthening the overall community resilience.
Recent Program Highlights
- Participation in the HPE Living Progress Challenge
- Co-organization of the ADPC Business Forum
- Presentation at the BCI World Conference & Exhibition 2015
Interested in getting involved?
The GDPC is always seeking ways to form new partnerships for its programs. If you are interested in finding out more about the Business Preparedness Initiative and how to become a partner, please email email@example.com
Are you a small business interested in this program?
The GDPC and partners will begin piloting the Atlas: Ready for Business mobile application in the coming months. To find out when the mobile application will be available in your country, please contact the GDPC at firstname.lastname@example.org