It’s a good idea for any small business to take a look at what can potentially happen & how to plan for a disaster at any time. Follow the steps below to make sure your business is prepared for any emergency.
Start by minimizing the risks:
- Develop a sound Disaster Recovery Plan – review and test it annually. This will help insure that systems are in place to help minimize the interruption in service that you provide to your clients and also providing valuable information to your employees that will give them both direction and peace of mind during a crisis.
- Go out of your way to take care of employees
- Make deposits in the bank of good will
- Monitor industry news coverage, conditions and situations
- Set up systems for early detection and warnings about crises
- Identification and/or reduction of eventual risks
- Establish good contacts with media and community
- Conduct a vulnerability audit
When and if a crisis occurs, carefully evaluate the damage and prioritize your responses to employees, vendors, media and the community at large (or any other critical audiences).
What can we learn in terms of planning?
- Create employee and business evacuation plans
- Review remote office resources
- Consider cloud-based client and project management systems
- Make employees a first priority
- Ensure an uninterrupted payroll
- Establish a mobile work environment
What should we consider in regard to technology?
- What tools are best for communicating? For example, cell vs. satellite vs. text messaging
- Phone system: do we have voice activation, an 800 #, forwarding, online voicemail?
- Do we have remote-access to an e-mail server?
- What if we need to transition to a virtual office?
Some other advice:
- Be proactive and routinely discuss, practice and implement your plans ahead of time
- Ensure you have established clear, defined tasks and functions for everyone
- Prepare strategic messages for every problematic, hard question imaginable
- Be able to track and communicate with employees, clients and vendors
- Realize planning is a best case scenario: what you least expect will happen, and most often what you think may happen may not.