SMALL BUSINESS GUIDE – 5 SIMPLE STEPS TO HELP YOU PREPARE FOR DISASTER
October 13, 2011
WHAT’S YOUR PLAN?
Have you ever thought of what would happen to you and your business in case of an emergency? While it’s easy to believe we will never face such a challenge, in reality that just isn’t the case. It seems that natural disasters are becoming more frequent and severe. This year alone we’re had earthquakes in NY, hurricanes in Vermont, tornadoes throughout the Midwest.
IT WON’T HAPPEN TO ME!
Well just to let you know, a few of my own clients have experienced challenges in 2011. One was affected by the flooding from Irene in Pennsylvania, another had the roof collapse on their building and yet another was troubled by a break-in at his warehouse. The truth is that it could very well happen to you. And what we’re experienced here in the US lately hasn’t been all that bad.
In Japan the earthquake and tsunami affected the economy and caused closing of factories for Sony, Toyota Motors, Nissan Motors, Honda Motors, Panasonic, Fuji Heavy Industries, Asahi Kasei Corp, and JSR, to name a few. According to Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) the earthquake and tsunami has the potential to impact:
311, 934 employees
$209 billion in sales volume.
Spread across 715 industries in Japan
This doesn’t account for the impact on corporations worldwide.
While the true impact of the devastation is almost impossible to gauge, I fear it is much larger than can be counted. While D&B reviewed more than 195 million businesses to gather this information, I know my business wasn’t amongst them and I’m pretty sure yours wasn’t either. This leads me to believe that many businesses like ours will be dramatically affected but will go virtually unnoticed by the powers that be.
PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT
Having spent a bit of time in Japan I can say that there are many tiny businesses that were not counted and will not recover. Research shows that 25% – 60% of businesses struck by a disaster never bounce back. According to the SBA (Small Business Administration) businesses with disaster planning in place are much more likely to be back up and running. The more sophisticated the plan, the more quickly, easily and cost effectively those companies will be back in business.
I’ve included resources at the bottom of this post for you to create a full-fledged Disaster Plan. I highly recommend taking the time to get it done right, but realize that it might be too large of a chunk to bite off at this time. I’m offering the following steps as a small business guide to prepare for in case of emergency.
EASY, SIMPLE AND FREE
Step 1 – Meet with the insurance agent and review your coverage. I’m a bit stunned at how many people I personally know who are under insured. Unfortunately, many found out AFTER they were flooded out, burned down or broken into. Also consider business interruption insurance. It costs absolutely nothing to get the agent out there to take a look at your company. Do it and you’ll never be sorry. And to be really safe, you might want to look at your personal policies as well.
Step 2 – Create a list of people and companies that provide disaster recovery services. Since I have heard some pretty scary stories about these types of companies, it’s a good idea to check them out BEFORE you need them. The list should live in a separate location outside your business and offer immediate access.
Step 3 – Video tape or photograph all your equipment, computers and machinery. Have all receipts photocopied and stored at a separate location. These are proof that you purchased these items and what you paid.
Step 4 – Have a back-up location where you could conduct your business already lined-up. Having the plan before you need it will allow you to have peace of mind. Going one step further would be to have the configuration arranged, cost of office rental, equipment and furniture previously determined.
LOW COST BUT WELL WORTH THE MONEY
Step 5 – A fire extinguisher, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are a must for every business. They’re inexpensive, readily available and simple to install. Once they’re there, they should be tested periodically.
Here are a list of resources that might help you get going.