Emergency/ Business Disaster Planning Can Reduce Time and Expense to Recover 

business disaster planningWorking out of your home or in an office, this article is for you. Small business owners invest a tremendous amount of time, money and resources to make their businesses successful, yet, many owners fail to properly plan and prepare for disaster situations. Major disasters, such as earthquakes and large-scale power outages, are rare. Smaller disasters, such as server failure, burst pipes and fires, however, happen every day. Companies often prepare for the worst, but forget the everyday challenges that can be just as crippling. 

Believe me, I know! Our home was hit by lightning. The consequences for not being prepared…a badly damaged computer motherboard, dead keyboard and mouse, and fried DVD player, irrigation system control panel, and garage door opener. What hurt the most? The motherboard! We did not have an external back-up system. In the history of disasters, our motherboard was not the end of the world, it was, however, more than a little inconvenient.

Following a disaster, statistics show ninety percent of companies fail within a year unless they can resume operations within five days. Having a plan can ensure that you’re back in business quickly and able to provide products and services to your community. Thanks to the SBA and other resources this is what we learned and what we put in place.

During our disaster recovery we found a process improvement method to prepare for the impact of future natural and human hazards the business may face in today’s world (we hope we never need it).  The depth and breadth of each step depends on your business, its industry, federal, state or industry regulations, revenue and expenses, product/service, home or office based, number of employees, and customer needs.  The five steps in developing an emergency preparedness program are:

  • Program Management
    • Organize, develop and administer your preparedness program
    • Identify regulations that establish minimum requirements for your program
  • Planning
    • Gather information about hazards and assess risks
    • Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)
    • Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks
  • Implementation
    • Write a preparedness plan addressing:
      • Resource management
      • Emergency response
      • Crisis communications
      • Business continuity
      • Information technology
      • Employee assistance
      • Incident management
      • Training
  • Testing and Exercises
    • Test and evaluate your plan
    • Define different types of exercises
    • Learn how to conduct exercises
    • Use exercise results to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan and making changes as appropriate
  • Program Improvement
    • Identify when the preparedness program needs to be reviewed
    • Discover methods to evaluate the preparedness program
  • Utilize the review to make necessary changes and plan improvement. This is an iterative process!

Like many business strategic initiatives, business disaster planning takes time, diligence and commitment. The investment is worth it…the cost of recovering the data from our fried motherboard was far greater than the time and effort developing our disaster plan. Contact us if you would like us to help you create a disaster plan to better protect your business and its assets from damage or loss. Have you ever experienced a major setback that a little bit of preparation and preparedness could have addressed? Tell us about it in the comments below.