How can you “sell” the need for business continuity to executive management?

Even the strongest business continuity plan will fail without support from the executive management team. Their support is key to ensuring that business continuity is an organization-wide approach that has the necessary funding and resources.


The problem is that getting executive management onboard when it wasn’t their idea to begin with can be complicated. Business continuity is a new concept for many leaders, and it is almost guaranteed to sound like a big time and financial commitment when it is first pitched. That fact can keep some executives from really focusing on the need and benefit of business continuity when all they see is an expense and another thing to prioritize in the sea of a million things to do.

If you are in a position where you recognize that your organization is in need of business continuity but you now need to convince executive management, here are some things you can do to get them onboard.


Build a strong case

It is imperative that you do your research so that you can thoroughly explain what business continuity is, why it’s important, how it can specifically benefit the company, and what it will take to implement. If business continuity is new for your organization, it’s also likely that these executives will have questions. Remember, if business continuity isn’t already a top priority, it’s unlikely that they will take the initiative to research questions you aren’t able to answer. Their unanswered questions will just create doubts that may end with “this isn’t going to work” or “let’s just think about it later down the road.”


The tighter you can make the case for why your organization needs business continuity based on your specific organization’s needs, priorities, industry, resources, supplies, and physical location, the stronger your case will be. And the stronger your case is, the more likely it is that the executives will rally behind you.


It’s also important to consider what is most important to the executives you’re going to pitch to. And those two things are often time and money. Be very transparent about how much time will be required to implement a business continuity strategy and how much it will cost. If there are specific tools or any additional expenses, be sure those are clear.


In addition to expenses, also layout the “potential expenses” should a disruption occur while the business is operating without business continuity.


Create an implementation strategy

Business continuity plans often fail when there is no plan for adoption. Just “going all in” rarely works because it is too overwhelming and time-consuming. Create a timeline and plan for how business continuity will be rolled out over the organization over time—in a time- and cost-effective way.


Know the regulations for your industry

Regulations don’t apply to every industry, but many do have standards and regulations that they must meet. For example, the healthcare industry must abide by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations, and the financial industry must abide by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) standards.


If your industry happens to have regulatory compliance requirements, they are not only key to understand, but they can also be a major push to help get executive support.


Provide case studies

By showing the real danger of not having a business continuity plan through real case studies, you can grab the executives’ attention and show how businesses just like yours have been affected. This will help further drive the point that business continuity can not only help with recuperating from a major event, but it can also help prevent the event before it happens.


Get a champion

Before you pitch your idea for business continuity to executive management, try to find an executive that you believe will rally behind and support the idea. Having someone “on the inside” championing the idea can help get others onboard as well. That executive will also be able to:

  • provide you with additional guidance so you understand the business goals
  • help spot weaknesses or gaps in your plan/pitch
  • help you cut through red tape in acquiring resources and funding
  • help with planning and implementation

Getting executive buy-in to business continuity can be a difficult endeavor, but it is not impossible. And doing so could help save your business if a business continuity program is not currently in place. Once you have executive buy-in, your program will be much easier to implement across the entire organization—with cooperation from the entire staff. This will ensure that you have the most successful, effective business continuity program.

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