According to the latest forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, we are likely to see an above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. With that in mind, it’s important for you as a business owner to understand how you can protect your business from hurricanes, other natural disasters, and even human error this year.
If you want to ensure your business is ready to weather any storm download our FREE Disaster Preparedness Checklist, and check out the seven steps below!
First things first, you need to designate a trustworthy member of your team to be in charge of your company’s recovery plans in order to ensure these plans are up to date and can be executed at the drop of a hat.
- Assemble a Disaster Recovery Team, and choose one person to oversee the development and implementation of your plan for the company.
- Assign roles and responsibilities to each member of the team.
- Make sure these roles are clearly defined ahead of time so teams can immediately begin to restore business functions without confusion or delay in the event of an emergency.
After you’ve established your team, start identifying what resources you will need to keep your business running in the event that your physical space becomes compromised.
Example: Your entire office is underwater. Ask yourself…1. What functions are critical to keeping the business running?
- Access to company files
- Phones (will cell phones suffice?)
- Email access
- Can you perform critical business services remotely?
- Do you need to establish an offsite command center?
- Do you need to establish a backup production facility?
3. Identify Critical Skills & Staff
It’s important to understand who in your company is vital to running the business, as well as what these individuals need in order to carry out their responsibilities.
Once critical functions/ services are established, what skills and staff are needed for these functions/ services to function properly?
- Identify the staff members and skills needed to accomplish these tasks
- Identify any partners, vendors, or suppliers needed to accomplish these tasks
4. Identify Potential Issues
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry...
Think outside the box, what could go wrong? Even the most prepared businesses can still get caught in unprecedented scenarios. It’s important to understand what COULD go wrong. Think outside of the box, similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, what unprecedented issues could present themselves that would compromise your business functions?
Here are a few things your business is most likely to be disrupted by:
- Skeleton Crew: Most of you staff will most likely be out of the office
- Limited access to materials, supplies, and vendors
- Services interruptions: Power outages, communications, or transportation
5. Plan For Each Essential Function
Although it may seem tedious, documenting your plan is crucial to the success of its implementation. If you do not map out your disaster recovery plan, you will inevitably overlook a detail. Plus, 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 information in your emergency contact list.
- Communicate effectively! Be sure to keep all parties (employees, clients, vendors) informed with updates and ensure they know where to go for updates.
6. Compare To 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 plans into policy: Your plan should be documented and easy to access when a disaster occurs (i.e., a USB drive with step-by-step plans and contacts).
- Train your staff! - Hold training sessions to educate employees on emergency procedures so everyone is prepared.
Our FREE Disaster Preparedness Checklist covers everything we mentioned above plus more. See how your companies plan stacks up!
7. Test, Review, Repeat
Although it may seem redundant to spend so much time on Disaster Preparedness, you will thank yourself in the event that you have to use even a fraction of the procedures you have outlined. You may even find your business utilizing a fraction of your plan for smaller, more short-term emergency conditions. Nevertheless, remember that practice makes perfect.
TEST YOUR PLAN - If you don’t test your plan at least once, something is bound to go wrong. The goal is to catch mistakes in the plan BEFORE you need to use it.
TEST IT AGAIN - Making a plan and testing it already gives your business an advantage in the case of a disaster, but one test doesn’t mean it’s perfect. A good rule of thumb is to test your plan at least annually to ensure it is still viable.
ADAPT - Especially in our fast-changing world, and ESPECIALLY if you are a quickly growing startup, you need to adapt your plan with the current state of your environment as well as your business. For example, twenty years ago, companies didn’t need to be concerned with ransomware or phishing emails, which are currently the number one outside threat to businesses. Similarly, if your business is doubling in size twice per year, much of the information in your Disaster Preparedness Plan will quickly be outdated.
Download our FREE Disaster Preparedness Checklist.
Call 941-315-2380 or click to schedule an appointment for assistance with building your business’s Disaster Recovery Plan!