Mother Nature has really socked it to many of us in the past months. We’ve dealt with devastating hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding that have wiped out homes and businesses.
For businesses, it should serve as a wake up call to review the disaster plans we have in place to deal with such occurrences. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not have disaster plans in place.
Being prepared for a disaster requires more than just buying property and casualty insurance or making your building less vulnerable to weather, fire and other catastrophes. While still important, disaster planning must also include provisions that will ensure that your company will operate after a catastrophic event, and, that if it can’t, that your expenses and lost profits will be covered.
Things you should consider when creating a disaster plan:
(1) Arrange for secure data storage and back up of your business records.
(2) Buy business interruption insurance (Note: this may or may not be part of a business insurance package you buy from a broker. Be sure to check)
(3) Identify a location where you can set up temporarily if it turns out your own offices will be unusable for some time.
(4) Develop a system for reaching employees after the disaster has occurred and how you will operate your business.
(5) Create a back up plan. If Plan A fails, what’s Plan B?
Putting together a comprehensive disaster plan can seem overwhelming, but there are resources that you can use that may prove helpful. The SBA’s Web site has a disaster preparedness section at www.sba.gov/beawareandprepare/business.html. The Institute for Business & Home Safety Web site has a downloadable toolkit called Open for Business that includes a comprehensive list of considerations to be made in preparing for a disaster, and forms that you can use in putting your disaster plan. You can link directly to it at www.ibhs.org/business_protection.