The importance of a disaster plan for your business.
Unfortunately, too many business wait until it is too late to consider the effects that a natural or manmade disaster would have on their business. The truth is that one out of every four small businesses are never able to recover after disaster hits. The good news is that if a business has a well-organized disaster plan in place, they are likely to see less overall damage or loss and reopen for business quicker. When devising a comprehensive plan, your management team must consider the important questions.
Who Do You Need to Run Your Business?
The first major question to ask yourself is who are the key players of the business. This includes essential employees and suppliers who are necessary in order to operate your business. Your essential employees should understand your disaster plan and know that they will be needed in case of an emergency. You should keep the contact information for all of the essential members in several locations and gather the necessary information such as phone numbers, emails and account numbers. You should also consider creating an alternative list in case one of your employees or suppliers is unavailable during the disaster.
What Supplies and Files Do You Need?
You will also need to consider what supplies and files you will need to successfully operate your business in case of a disaster. This includes the necessary inventory, equipment and tools that are used on a day-to-day basis. If at all possible, keep back-up materials and equipment in good working condition and at a separate location from your business. Regularly back-up the vital documents, such as payroll, account receivable, account payable, personnel, insurance policies and account information.
Where Can You Relocate Your Business?
As part of the business disaster plan, you must decide on several locations that the business could relocate to if necessary. Take in to account the current location of your business and the area in which it resides and list a few good alternatives places. If the business can operate out of a person’s home for a while that would be a great alternative, but if an actual new site needs to be found, you must be the first one to find it. You must also understand your insurance policies and how they work in case of a disaster. By quickly submitting your insurance claims, it can provide you with the necessary cash flow to relocate & execute your disaster plan effectively.
When and How Can You Reopen for Business?
The goal for any small business is to reopen as soon as possible after disaster strikes. The most important thing during your downtime and even after your business reopens is to keep the line of communication open between you and your customers. Use any method necessary to communicate to the customers that your business is prepared and they will be reopening soon. When possible, post messages on your website, send out emails and call vital customers to let them know the status of your business.
Why Do You Need To Be Prepared
If disaster hits your business, things will be chaotic enough without trying to quickly devise a plan of action. By creating a plan ahead of time, it allows you time to think through the process, so that your do not forget any of the important thing. Depending on the nature of the disaster, afterwards may be too late to fix an oversight. For example, if a fire destroys your business it may be very time-consuming, difficult or even impossible to retrieve all the important files that have been destroyed.
Hopefully disaster will never hit your business, but if it does it is imperative that your business has a organized plan in place. This will help your entire team know exactly what needs to be done to ensure your businesses success. From communication with employees, suppliers and the customers to relocating the business to gathering all the necessary materials, a disaster plan can have your business reopening in no time.