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How to Prepare Your Small Business for Emergency Situations?

Imagine this. You’ve managed to open up your small business. While the struggle is there, things are relatively going well for you. You’re happy, content, and most importantly – sure that you’ve done your homework regarding the risks lurking on the horizon.

Then, you wake up one day to hear the news that a storm has hit your town and lo and behold – it’s occurred near the vicinity of your company’s premise. Off you storm out to see what has happened and once you arrive at the location, sadly there isn’t much left to be called a company.

It indeed is a nightmarish scenario that can happen more often than expected. Fortunately, there are tried-and-tested emergency plans in place that could help reserve a contingency plan for your company.

Emergency situations vary. Some are human-made, some are natural. Scroll through to have some light shed on the ways you can safeguard your company against potential threats!

Insurance & Business Continuity

First and foremost, depending on the nature of your business and location, get insured accordingly! If you’re living in an area prone to wildfire – get fire insurance. If you’re living in a flood-risk area – get flood insurance. If you’re living… – you get the picture. Insurance is vital and can act as a safety net for your physical assets.

Once that’s taken care of, you ought to invest in a business continuity plan. It is one thing to have insurance for your assets, but it’s another thing to have your data and organizational infrastructure secured.

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), 25% of businesses that suffer a catastrophe never reopen, and for those that do not recover within 1 month – that number increases to 80%. Therefore, experts are now of the opinion that investing in, for example, Continuity2 business software isn’t just helpful, but necessary for your company’s recovery as it can function as a blueprint for your infrastructure.

Successful Preparation Method

A robust preparation plan translates into fewer days-out-of-business, better customer communication, and a better settlement from your insurance company. The chronological guide below is crucial in helping you navigate through all the uncertainties pertaining to the many potential disasters.

Identify Risk

It is imperative that you diligently think through all the possible disasters that could affect your business. Covid-19, Hurricanes, floods, tornados, winter weather, earthquakes, and wildfires are a few notable ones that small companies around the world have suffered from.

Effective communication with all the people in the company is necessary to bring about a work environment in which your employees are comfortable enough to actively engage in the planning of your preparations. Remember, two heads (or more) are better than one!

Develop a Plan

Identifying risks is futile without proper planning. Your roadmap to recovery is in direct proportion to the quality of your response plan. If you have someone aboard that you deem fit for coordinating a disaster plan – don’t hesitate in assigning them to that position.

As an owner or manager, it is then your job to let them know what they should include in the plan. This will make it easier for you to work on other aspects of your business without the constant anxiety at the back of your mind.

If you’re situated in the US, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has simple measures in place that help businesses protect financial and tax records in case of disasters. Therefore, make sure that you’ve skimmed through the guide developed by the IRS.

Training & Implementation

A disaster plan isn’t something you dust off the minute you feel safe and secured. As soon as your plan is complete, the real work begins. It is where you need to make sure you train your staff for the worst along with designing routes to safety – before the disaster hits. The following tips are an overview of the things you can do at this stage.

  • Educate your staff through emergency drills and exercises
  • Designate a point person to coordinate the location of documents along with storing important passwords.
  • Back up essential data using either an on-site system or the cloud
  • Create an exit strategy in case of an unforeseeable situation

The Final Note

Embarking on a new business venture is never hassle-free. You have to constantly be on the watch-out for potential risks. Understandably, managing all this alone could prove to be a fool’s errand.

The best thing you can do is not to overcomplicate the steps explained here. After all, you need to maintain a healthy mindset if success is what you’re opting for. Cultivating a friendly internal environment is the cornerstone of every successful enterprise.

In order to effectively execute your response plan, you need employees that care about the company’s well-being because eventually, your company’s hope for recovery lies in the efforts put in by group work.

About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.

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