Storms and fires disrupt thousands of businesses every year. Although you can’t change the weather, you can minimize the effect of such disasters on your business.
You have to plan ahead, though. People don’t like to think about disasters, but if you develop a catastrophe plan now, you’ll be able to recover quickly from an emergency. And that could save your business.
The Insurance Information Institute has identified four key elements of catastrophe planning. First, minimize the damage before an emergency occurs. Limit storm-related damage by making sure your place of business conforms to building codes. Limit potential damage from fire by practicing fire safety measures and modernizing old wiring.
Second, develop a disaster recovery plan. Keep duplicate records, back up computerized files, and make an inventory of equipment you own or lease, including model and serial numbers. Compile a list of important phone numbers and addresses. Store these items off the premises.
Identify your critical business activities and what you will need to support them, so you can get back to business quickly. Find alternate facilities, equipment and supplies.
You need to know where you can rent computers of other equipment quickly. Think about how much space you will need, and where you can go. Write out your plan and keep a copy with your other duplicate records – off the premises.
Third, review your insurance program. Disasters can cost your business much more than the price of office equipment or a building. Consider the potential loss of income while your business is closed, or the additional expense of setting up shop temporarily somewhere else. Call your insurance agent for a detailed review of your policies to be sure there are no gaps in your coverage.
Fourth, review all the parts of your plan regularly and update it as needed. Be sure to share the plan with your employees. You’ll probably take a vacation sometime, and you never know when a disaster might strike.