The Institute for Business & Home Safety states that 25% of small businesses in the US never manage to recover enough to open their doors if disaster strikes. You invest a significant amount of time and money and put in a lot of effort to begin a venture.
Why can’t you invest some of that time, money and effort to prepare for a disaster? You cannot prevent a hurricane, a fire or a flood. But you can take the right steps at the right time to prevent the natural disaster from destroying your business. You also need to ensure that it gets back on track as soon as possible.
Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to achieve this objective.
Whether your business is based in hurricane-prone Florida or earthquake susceptible California, you need to have a clear idea about what the greatest risk is in your area.
Is flooding your main concern? Or is a power outage more of a challenge? Ensure that the building of your office has appropriate features to protect people in emergencies. Staying informed means staying alert. Keep track of the weather updates.
How much would your business fall back by if it is closed for a day or a month? It is important to be prepared for the worst. And the first step to do this is to calculate the costs in case of an interruption.
Once you have a figure, you can go on to the next step to evaluate your insurance options. It is also a good idea to keep a stash of cash somewhere; a power failure may make it difficult to assess your money.
Talk to a business insurance advisor. An agent may give you a brief update about what the policy covers and what it doesn’t. But this often isn’t enough to comprehend everything, especially the fine print.
Also, consider additional coverage for flood damage. Most insurance policies don’t offer this. Another thing you need to include in your insurance plan is extra expenses that you may have to bear with if disaster strikes.
You have made copies of everything. Good! But if you keep the copies at the same place as the original, it wouldn’t be of much help. When a fire destroys the original, why would it spare the copy?
Make sure the backup is somewhere safe. And make sure it is away from the original. You may also consider an online backup system to keep your data safe. This ensures that it is protected from any calamity.
A Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) is essential for every business. Identify the key people, places, data, and other elements that you need to get your business back on its feet.
If you haven’t given an alternative supplier/vendor a thought, do it immediately. It can cause a serious problem if your supplier/vendor is affected by the disaster and fails to deliver the products or services necessary for carrying on your venture.
Pay attention to the building that houses your office. Does it have adequate protection from the likely natural calamities? If not, consider a little upgrade. Keep safety supplies handy, if there are warnings from the met office.
When recovering from a disaster, you need to make sure that the key people, at least, return to work. This may be difficult if roads are blocked and bridges have collapsed. Work out a telecommute plan with your employees to achieve your purpose.
You have a perfect plan to ensure the continuity of your business even after a disaster. But how would everyone know about it? You need to set up an effective communication network to do this.
Use email alerts, social media sites and other means of communication to convey that your business still exists. It would ensure that every important contact, be it a supplier or a customer, is aware that your business is on the path of recovery.