When Disaster Strikes: 7 Tips for Business Continuity
Hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires – natural disasters happen, and preparation is the difference between business as usual, or your bottom line taking a big hit. Developing a sound business continuity and disaster recovery plan is vital. Nancy Mann Jackson, writing for Entrepreneur, offers seven steps to help you prepare your business for disasters.
- Create a list of essentials. What items do you need to keep your business running? Will you be able to get to them? What utilities are vital? This list will help you develop contingencies.
- Assign emergency leaders. Choose responsible key staffers who can be relied on in an emergency, and rehearse emergency procedures until they become second nature.
- Plan emergency communications. Decide how you will communicate with employees and customers, whether it’s an email blast, a text message, or a loudspeaker announcement.
- Use the cloud. Cloud-based data with pre-determined access permissions lets employees continue working remotely.
- Determine an alternate place of business. Maintain a co-working office membership or designate one or more of your business’s other locations as backup workplaces.
- Worker safety is primary. What will your employees need in a disaster situation? Providing safe alternate housing and transportation can help your team maintain a high degree of productivity, and keep them out of harm’s way.
- Test your plan by having everyone work from home for a day. You’ll discover if there are gaps in your communication system and if you have access to important documents.
We recommend an additional step: Include your business storage as part of your disaster plan. Ask yourself these questions –
- Can essential paper documents and backup drives be retrieved and moved to safety? Who will execute that task, and how?
- Are inventory records accurate, for insurance claims? Do you have an automated system that keeps inventory records up to date?
- How is the supply chain likely to be affected? Do you have a space-efficient storage system that lets you increase capacity in the safe zone?
If your storage systems aren’t disaster-ready, your disaster plan is incomplete. Talk to a storage consultant to see if your storage system will help you carry on business in the face of whatever Mother Nature throws at you!
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