While no one wants to think about how a major disaster might affect their business and their livelihood, the cruel facts are that it happens to entrepreneurs every day. No disaster plan can prepare you for every contingent, but a little foresight and planning can make the difference between the business, and your livelihood, being able to survive or drowning in confusion and crisis. Here are five tips to making sure your business can make it through.
1. Have a plan.
What is actually in a disaster plan will depend on the business and what it takes for the business to keep running. If you have to leave your home (and likely office) in an emergency, grab your laptop and cell phone as you head out to a hotel. Think ahead about relocation, equipment leasing and new phone lines. Also, share your plan with someone else. Sometimes another set of eyes can point out the cracks in the plan or some missing components. Review your plan at least once a year to make sure it still works.
2.Do you have your computer backed up?
Regular back-up of all the information on your computers is a must. Make copies of important documents and contracts and store them offsite in a safe location that can be easily accessed in an emergency.
3.Communicate with your customers.
You should have an easily accessible list of customers with their contact information. Let your clients know if you’re out of business for a few days or longer including updates through your website, emails and social media.
4.Do you have the right insurance?
Make sure you have the right insurance coverage for your business. You will need coverage for your business equipment, facilities and business interruption. Find out if FEMA, the SBA or other organizations are offering assistance and keep in contact with them.
If you had a thriving business before a disaster, you are likely going to try and revive it. If you had been struggling, a catastrophe may be the impetus for you to shut the doors and go in a different direction.
If you have questions about your disaster plan or need advice on making updates, the Alliance Business Consultant Advice Line has professional consultants to answer your questions at no additional charge for most Alliance members. Contact Alliance Member Services at 1-800-733-2242 or check the Alliance Member Area for more information.