Is Your Business Prepared For A Disaster?
You hear about them on a regular basis – tornadoes, blizzards, floods, earthquakes and fires.
Any one of these can be devastating to a business and its future. Would your business survive this type of disruption? Have you taken the time to prepare a disaster recovery plan?
Experts say it’s important to identify disasters that could hit your area and prepare a checklist of how they could affect your business, your customers, your clients or suppliers, and your business data. You can find useful preparedness information at ready.gov/business and readyrating.org/.
When preparing an emergency response plan, you’ll want to identify who is responsible for each aspect. Your plan should include important contact information such as staff telephone numbers, supplier information, and methods for contacting customers, your financial institution, insurance companies and emergency agencies.
Communication will be key. After initially assessing the safety of your staff and customers and determining the damage to your business, you’ll want to start the recovery process and reach out to others. Do you have an email list for contacting your customers? Do you have a social media platform you can use to keep people informed? How will you contact suppliers or clients so you can collaborate on moving forward in a time of need? You don’t want to lose the groups most important to your future success.
You also need to prepare by protecting your business and customer data. You should have backups of all important information – ranging from customer and employee records to financial and operating documents. Experts recommend that you regularly back up data and that you store it securely both on and off site so it can be easily accessed when needed.
You should also work closely with your business insurance agent to regularly assess your coverage needs and costs so you can minimize your losses.
Once you have a disaster recovery plan, you will need to share it with your staff and train them regularly so they will know what to do if things ever go haywire.
While you hope a disaster will never affect your business, it will pay to be ready. Just in case.