Unfortunately for Florida, Mother Nature did not get the memo telling her to take it easy after the COVID outbreak and has instead decided to throw an "above average hurricane season" our way. This could have a major impact on businesses still in recovery mode as enduring a major storm right after the outbreak could prove impossible.
If you want to ensure your business business is ready to weather any storm download our FREE Disaster Preparedness Checklist or check out the seven steps below!
1. Establish Emergency Response Team
First things first, someone needs to be in charge of your company's recovery plan to ensure it stays up to date (think how COVID could affect travel plans) and can execute the plan if needed.
- Pick one person to head up the team and oversee the development and implementation of the overall plan for the company
- Clearly define and assign responsibility for each member of the team
- Role’s must be defined ahead of time so when disaster strikes the team can immediately work to restore business functions without confusion or delay
2. Identify Essential Services & Functions
Next it's time to start identifying what resources you will need to keep your business running. Think like your entire office is underwater...
- What functions are critical to keep business running?
- Access to company files
- Phones – Will cell phones suffice?
- Email access
- What services must be performed to stay in business?
- Can you perform business critical services remotely
- Do you need to establish an offsite command center
- Backup production facility
3. Identify Critical Skills & StaffWho in your company is vital (think critical to running the business) and what do they need to work?
- Once critical functions/services are established what is needed for them to funciton
- Identify the staff members and skills needed to accomplish these tasks
- Identify any partners, vendors, suppliers to accomplish needed
4. Identify Potential Issues
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry... Think outside the box, what could go wrong?
- During an emergency your business is likely to be disrupted by:
- Skeleton crew – Most of your staff will likely be out of office
- Limited access to materials, supplies, and vendors
- Service interruptions – Power outages, communications, transportation
- What would happen if you have to reduce or modify essential services/functions?
- What could you business and your clients live without
5. plan for each essential functionsOkay, this part is a pain in the ass, but having your plan documented is crucial. If not you will inevitably miss something and it's hard to update and revise a plan when it isn't tangible!
- WRITE OUT YOUR PLAN for each essential service/function of your business
- Include employees, vendors, inventory, interruption of service, and locations
- Create lists of all your key contacts and be proactive and ensure key clients know what to expect during emergency situations
- Don’t forget your vendors and business partners! Set expectations and be sure to include their contact info in your emergency contact list
- Communicate effectively – Be sure to keep all parties (employees, clients, vendors) appraised with updates and ensure they know where to go for updates
6. Compare to our Disaster Prep ChecklistWe made a checklist that covers everything mentioned above and more so you can see how your company stacks up. Check it out!
- Review your business continuity and recovery plan to ensure all areas are addressed and highlight areas that may need more attention
- Understand the impact these disasters have on employees and clients
- Turn your plan into policy – Your plan should be documented and easy to access when a disaster occurs; Example: USB drives with step by step plan and contacts
- Train your staff! – Hold training session to educate employees on emergency policies; if not you'll get a better appreciation for the phrase "Running around like chickens with their head's cut off"
7. Test, Review, Repeat
Seem redundant? Well it's your business on the line so it better be!
- TEST YOUR PLAN – If you do not something will surely go wrong and that’s the last thing you need in the middle of an emergency
- TEST IT AGAIN – One good run doesn’t mean your plan is perfect. You should review your plan at least annually to ensure it is still viable
- Adapt with the times – Things change and your plan needs to adapt with the times, 20 years ago companies didn’t need to be concerned with ransomware and phishing emails but now they are the #1 outside threat to businesses
If you have questions about how to best prepare your business or having concerns about how your company can operate remote during COVID or other disaster conditions give us a call at 941-315-2380 or schedule a time to meet with our of our experts!