September is National Preparedness Month in the United States. Inspired by Hurricane Katrina which struck the golf coast in 2005, the Federal government is encouraging small businesses to prepare for the worst.Even though September is quickly coming to an end, every small business owner should constantly evaluate his or her emergency response plan. Here are a few suggestions:
Develop an Emergency Plan
This goes beyond profit or sales. If a disaster struck your physical workplace, are you and all of your employees prepared? Designate a point of contact who will communicate with employees, vendors, banks, and others who would normally expect payments or service from your business. Also designate somebody to account for all employees should a disaster strike. This person should also be in charge of notifying family members.
Along with keeping names and phone numbers in a cell phone, a one or two page reference sheet should be made in case the cell phone is lost or damaged. For your emergency plan, think of all of the events that probably won’t happen and plan for them.
If disaster strikes, insurance is what will allow your business to rebuild. Without it, you’re most likely going to fall in to bankruptcy. Do you have flood insurance? How about business interruption insurance? Never heard of this? This pays you during the time when you are rebuilding your business and not producing any income. If you own the physical structure where your business operates, do you have enough coverage to rebuild the structure and replace the equipment and inventory inside of it?
Backup important records
If you’re a low tech type of person, make physical copies of all important business records and store them at a different location, preferably in a different city. If you’re a high tech person, use an online backup service. This is a service that stores your important records in a large data warehouse. Are you worried that they may lose your records if they experience natural disaster? Even the backup companies backup their data so you can be sure that your data is safe.
Be a Leader
You’re a leader in your business and you undoubtedly have employees who trust your judgment. While you are paying your employees to help safeguard your business, talk to them about safeguarding their own homes. Every home should have a disaster kit that includes water, flashlights, batteries, a radio, cash, and other essentials specific to your family.
Natural disasters are often viewed as event s that will never happen. Life’s normal disasters take precedence over large scale, low probability events. While it’s true that you may never be a victim of a large scale hurricane, regardless of where you live, disaster could strike and if you’re not ready you could experience loss that doesn’t allow your business ever to rebuild.
Being prepared takes very little time compared to the amount of time you will spend if you aren’t prepared and it happens. Thinking that it will never happen to you has the potential for disaster in your life.