Has Your Business Planned For A Bad Day?

October 27th, 2014 | by Kimberly Gonzalez
Has Your Business Planned For A Bad Day?

Business preparedness for disasters and such like occurrences is often an aspect most businesses fail to consider and this may sometimes lead to businesses getting caught off-guard when disasters happen. It is estimated that 25% of companies are unable to resume operations after a major disaster according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

Disasters are almost not always inevitable that is why most businesses choose not to put into perspective any measures of preparedness. However, the reality is that floods, storms, fires, earthquakes and man-made disasters can strike anywhere at any time. Planning ahead is therefore advisable if a business is to recover from disasters should they occur.

Disaster recovery specialists ARC Systems have put together this striking infographic below. Some of these facts should hit home!

Have you planned for a bad day

How fast a business or a company is able to recover after a disaster more often defines how successful they will become in the future. Adequate preparations create trust among your employees and clients and will help your business carry on without too much damaging effects. The main reason why preparedness is important is obviously to minimize the loss that your business might face when the disaster strikes.

Loss can be experienced in more ways than the actual disaster itself. If your business is not prepared, you may stand to lose your loyal clients and to some extent some employees as well. Any employee will feel confident if they work in an environment that guarantees their safety and this may be in the form of safety procedures or insurance policies in place.

Disaster preparedness is therefore an aspect of your business that you should put into consideration and have it drilled deeply in the day to day functions of the business. Preparedness measures should be applied all year round and not just reserved when disasters strike this will ensure that your business bounces back as fast as possible.

Here are a few tips on how to ensure that your business is prepared:

  1. Back up everything.

Most transactions today are conducted electronically, it is crucial that data and files are saved and backed up several times. Such data may include customer lists, inventory, accounting and employee data which is absolutely critical in the day to day running of a business. If a business is destroyed and all this data destroyed, it will be very difficult for a business to re-establish itself. It is recommended that you back up all your data every now and then to avoid any such loss and in order to be able to re-establish again in case of a disaster.

  1. Create a survival kit.

Every business in operation should have survival kits that contain disaster-ready items such as flashlights, garbage bags, first aid kits etc distributed within its premises. This will assist in the event of natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes and there are either employees or other people hurt. You may also consider installing a surveillance system in the form of digital cameras to take photos of damaged property that may be of use to your insurance company.

  1. Make a reliable emergency response plan.

An emergency response plan will come very handy in minimizing the damage that the disaster may cause hence minimizing the loss that the business may incur. Such a plan may involve the identification and proper marking of evacuation routes, definition of emergency phone numbers, arrangement of transport to the hospital in case of injuries etc. Having a well laid out plan and having it communicated to everyone involved with the business and on the business premises will limit the number of injuries and loss in the event of a disaster.

  1. Ensure that you have enough insurance coverage.

Insurance is the transfer of risk and being compensated if the risk materializes to a full blown disaster. Insurance definitely carries with it costs that you have to cover every month or year but this will come in handy in the wake of a disaster. You will have to go through your insurance policies and confirm what type of coverage you have on your property or facilities. Is there enough insurance to help you re-establish if your business is physically completely wiped out? Small businesses should also consider business interruption insurance in case you have to close your doors for a substantial amount of time e.g. in case of floods.

  1. Determine a communication strategy.

Communication is very important especially in disaster situations as you get to understand what type of disaster has stricken and its severity and therefore you are able to respond accordingly. Breakdown in communication will spell even more disaster to your business and your property because it hampers you from responding. It is therefore, important to have an effective communication system and strategy and make sure that all involved parties are notified and understands their responsibilities. For instance, who will update on the severity of the disaster? Who will contact the clients and inform them? Who will contact the insurance company? Etc.

  1. Consider temporary relocation.

You may consider temporarily relocating your business in the event of a disaster if you cannot access into your office and your premises. You may also not be able to access your business premise in order to make way for renovations and such like activities. If you forecast a disaster and are sure that it will affect or damage your business, you may also consider relocation to a particularly safe location if the disaster occurs.

  1. Assign an employee the sole task of disaster preparedness and safety controller.

Having first hand information is critical in dealing with disasters should they happen. One effective way of achieving this is by assigning one of your employees the sole task of ensuring that all disaster preparedness systems are in place and ready when required and forecasting for any disasters that may affect the business. This will prove very efficient as you could avoid man-made disasters such as theft by ensuring that the proper security measures are in place and reducing the risk and loss when disasters occur.

The continuity of your business after a disaster will be determined by how prepared you are for such disasters that disrupt your business activities. Business continuity is generally depicted by the important factors and these are: recovery, reliance and contingency. For your business to be able to deal with disasters, its structure needs resilience. Your business needs to be housed in structures that can withstand elements of nature that cause disasters e.g. wind and floods. As stated above, your business needs to have in place systems of recovery so that disruption to your business is kept at a minimum. Finally your business needs contingencies put in place. Contingency is basically planning ahead for occurrences and in this case disaster. If you have a plan B or C, you will be able to recover easily and faster after experiencing a disaster. It is always advisable to plan ahead and put all aspects of your business into perspective.

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Kimberly Gonzalez

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