5 Ways to Prepare Your Small Business for a Disaster or Disruption

disaster preparednessWhen discussing a disaster or disruption many small businesses think in the scale of a hurricane, tornado, fire or flood. What’s usually not part of this discussion is that there are other events that could happen. From power outages to errant key strokes, small businesses are affected by a multitude of events every year that disrupt the running of their business yet many are ill prepared for the aftermath.

Unfortunately disasters and disruptions, big and small, are becoming more prevalent. Here are five ways to better position your business to be more prepared in their aftermath.

Keep Lists

Prepare a list with important names and numbers that will help get your business up and running as soon as possible. This list should include, but not be limited to, vendor, utility, insurance and customer information.

Know What is Vital for the Survival of Your Business

Determine what functions, equipment and supplies are of priority to keep your business running. Having this information documented ahead of time will allow for an easier transition to getting your business reopened.

Have Back-up Copies

Keep a copy of all important business documents (tax, accounting, payroll, insurance, and customer data) in a portable waterproof bag or box. If at all possible, scan those documents and store them in the cloud through services such as SugarSync or Dropbox. Either way you will be able to access the information at a moment’s notice.

Have Alternative Work Arrangements

Knowing you have a place where you can set up shop soon after a disaster or disruption will benefit your business in the long run. You will want to have a place where you will be able to do work related activities with little or no interruption. Possible locations could be Co-working facilities, coffee shops, libraries or even another business in your area that was not affected. Knowing you have the ability to work from another location will take some pressure off you and make what could have caused a major disturbance and reduce it to an annoyance.

Know Your Insurance Coverage

Understand what your policy does and does not cover well before a disaster or disruption strikes. Most policies do not cover flooding or earthquake damage and need separate insurance to cover them. Talk with your insurance agent to review your policy to make sure there are no gaps in coverage.

With simple foresight and planning, even the smallest business can survive a disaster or disruption. Planning ahead can make the difference between reopening or permanently shutting the doors to your business. 

 

 

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Barbara Goldberg

Business Operations Strategist at Back On Track Solutions
With over 15 years of corporate experience within Fortune 500 companies, Barbara Goldberg now brings world-class customer service to the small business community. An avid sports fan, Barbara likens her passion, focus and strategy to a crew chief guiding a race car driver to the finish line. Barbara will analyze, evaluate, distill and then solve the problems challenging business owners, allowing them to get back on track to servicing customers.

With over 15 years of corporate experience within Fortune 500 companies, Barbara Goldberg now brings world-class customer service to the small business community. An avid sports fan, Barbara likens her passion, focus and strategy to a crew chief guiding a race car driver to the finish line. Barbara will analyze, evaluate, distill and then solve the problems challenging business owners, allowing them to get back on track to servicing customers.

Posted in Disaster Recovery Planning, Small Business Tagged with: , , , , ,
  • One other thing – COMMUNICATE. Tell your customers how to reach you in the event of an evacuation. Make sure your employees know your plans, and what they’re supposed to do. One of the primary causes of business failures as a result of Katrina was a failure to communicate.

  • Absolutely John. When working with clients I have them prepare contact lists for customers, employees and vendors. This way they can let everyone know what’s going on as soon as possible. If they have a social media presence they update there status there as well.

  • Evan Bloom

    Good article. What i find interesting is that the ‘five ways’ listed above represent some of the key strategies/tactics used in business continuity and crisis communications and management. It is becoming more and more critical that small business owners protect themselves with an integrated risk and crisis plan. Coupled with a good insurance policy, this type of readiness can assist many companies to at least have a fighting chance for survival after a disaster.

  • Thanks Evan! You make a good point coupling the above with a good insurance policy. Anything a small business can do before a disaster will put them in a better position after one.

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