Having been in the middle of a few severe hurricanes, I’m here to say they can be devastating. While there is really very little you can do during one, there’s some comfort in knowing that you can prepare before they arrive. There are many things that people do to prepare for a storm. I’m sure you’ve heard them all a million times so I’m not going to bore you with them.
Unlike a hurricane that we can get warning of, disaster can strike without any notice in our business.
DISASTER CAN STRIKE AT ANY MOMENT!
Are you prepared for a top level executive to leave the business one day and not come back? For whatever reason, they are no longer there and it needs to be business as usual without them. I’ve been through this as well and it’s worse than a hurricane.
So how does one prepare?
LOOK AT KEY PEOPLE’S ROLES AND IMAGINE HAVING TO FILL IT – TOMORROW!
Do you have job descriptions? Insurance? Process templates? Lists of vendors, customers or service providers? Are there contracts, agreements and procedures documented? What about systems of production, delivery and product placement, are they written down? Is someone in line to take over?
Being able to answer yes to the above questions could save your business. You might want to make that a goal.
YOUR BIGGEST, MOST VALUABLE CLIENT GOES BELLY UP
Leaving you with a king’s ransom in unpaid invoices.
It’s a good idea to diversify your client base and your revenue streams, not leaving any one business vital to your bottom line. Of course, money in the bank wouldn’t hurt either.
THE COMPUTER CRASHES AND BURNS
Wiping out all your records, client contacts, vendor information, everyhing.
This one is very easy to prevent. With so many companies that back up systems on a nightly basis this shouldn’t be a problem. I’m sure that you can find one that is affordable, secure and stores data in more than one location. A greatcomputer company that knows your system is extremely valuable.
DISASTER STRIKES FOR YOUR SUPPLIERS
You can’t get the materials you need to produce your product. The tsunami in Japan had major effects throughout the world. Normally extremely dependable, companies in Japan were not able to supply products to a local multinational, (Which shall remain nameless in this post.) leaving the company scrambling to find other sources and playing havoc with production.
It’s a good idea to have a back up plan and multiple suppliers. Having more than one location and company that can deliver raw materials should facilitate seamless transition in face of disaster.
You’re being sued and you have no legal representation. You need a lawyer, you need one immediately and they better be great.
I advise all my clients to get to know a good business lawyer. If you have a relationship already in place chances are it’s going to be less expensive and turn out better in the long run. Many business owners, in an effort to save money, opt for the cheapest legal options out there. This is a mistake. I believe it’s important to use the best firm you can afford but opt for a junior at the firm to handle your affairs. That way you still have the resources of a great firm, a relationship and someone who knows your company. It’s much cheaper in the long run.
HOPE MEETS PREPARATION
In case you hadn’t noticed, preparation is a major theme here. Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball and can’t know what disaster will strike but there are certain things that we can do that will keep us going. Having money in the bank, systems in place, insurance, solid relationships, and resources you should be able to weather any storm. And my favorite line is…
“Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”
TO MY FRIENDS ON THE EAST COAST BE SAFE, HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE STORM!
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