Hurricane Season 2019 is upon us but for most Floridians it's just another year in the Sunshine State. We've heard it all before and know what to do when a hurricane is on the radar: Stock up on canned foods and bottled water, test to see if your backup generator is still working, board up your windows and doors, stay up to date on the path of the storm, map out potential evacuation routes, and, if S#%! really hits the fan, call your in-laws to see if you can crash at their place where it’s safe and dry.
Now you might not have ever put your list on paper but I’d be willing to bet you’ve built up some sort of disaster prep checklist over the years that looks something like the one above. I’d even take it another step and say that you’ve probably changed how you prep for hurricanes after going through one. Sound about right? Good, so when’s the last time you applied the same logic to your business?
Sadly, the answer for most businesses is NEVER. The majority of businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan and if you’ve recently binged HBO’s Chernobyl you know how well that typically ends. SPOILER ALERT: Not Great.
If you are a fan of the “No-Plan” plan you’ve come to the wrong place. You want to look at our other blog: Top 10 Ways to Go Out of Business FAST.
For those who’d like to ensure their business is ready to weather any storm download our FREE Disaster Preparedness Checklist or follow the steps below:
1. Establish Emergency Response Team
- 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
- 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 & Staff
- Once critical functions/services are established what is needed for them to work?
- Identify the staff members and skills needed to accomplish these tasks
- Identify any partners, vendors, suppliers to accomplish needed
4. Identify Potential Issues
- 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. Prepare plans for each essential function
- 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 Preparedness Checklist
- 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
- 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 need help prepping your business start by downloading our Disaster Preparedness Checklist or give us a call 941-315-2380 and speak to an expert today.