You may have the best plans in place for marketing, customer service, and growth, but if your business isn’t prepared for a disaster, it could all be for nothing.
When disaster strikes, businesses that aren’t prepared often don’t survive. Whether it’s natural or man-made, a major catastrophic event could close your doors forever if you’re not ready for it. It’s essential to get up and running again quickly. And this is possible only if you plan ahead.
Help prepare your business for disaster (and prevent minor events from becoming disasters) with these suggestions:
Evaluate and rate your risks
Start by evaluating your business. What disasters are you most likely to encounter? Rate them in terms of probability and severity – would your business be more affected by a hail storm or by a data breach? Once you’ve determined where your biggest risks lie, you can focus your efforts on protecting your business.
Back up data safely
It doesn’t matter the type of business; in today’s marketplace, every company relies on the electronic files that are critical to its operations. Have you backed up this information somewhere safe? Cloud storage now makes this process fairly simple for small businesses. Make sure all your critical data is backed up daily, and ensure you and your employees know how to access backups in case of emergency. You should also verify regularly that your backup systems are functional and reliable.
Do you have an emergency communications plan? If your business flow is interrupted by disaster, you need to be able to communicate both internally and externally, even when regular means of communication are down. Establish backup communication channels now so they’re ready when you need them.
You may need to protect some aspects of your disaster preparedness measures, but do share as much of your disaster preparedness plan as possible with employees, so they know what their roles are in an emergency. Conduct drills, and develop an emergency preparedness manual to discuss in employee meetings. Answer any questions your employees might have.
You don’t have to make these preparations alone. In fact, you shouldn’t; you have important internal resources available. Enlist the help of key employees. Assign them roles to fill if your company is faced with a disaster.
As well as internal resources, you also have a number of external resources available to you. The Small Business Administration, for example, offers emergency preparedness resources, including a strong focus on disaster recovery options. The link is www.sba.gov
Your insurance provider is also a resource. Discuss with your agent whether you have sufficient insurance coverage in the event of a disaster.
In considering your company’s degree of disaster readiness, have you now identified areas where you may not be prepared? Don’t wait; deal with these gaps now. Disasters are rarely expected. You may not know when they are coming, but you can take the right steps to ensure your business is prepared – and can fully recover – when one hits.