Even if you have thought about all the things that could go wrong in your small business and have taken out proper insurance policies to handle any eventuality, once a natural disaster strikes, your business is on thin ice.
Natural disasters include calamities such as earthquakes, fire, hurricane, or flood – and it is essential that you get back on your feet and up and running as quickly as possible, so you can get money flowing into your small business.
Here are some methods to help you ensure that a natural disaster only manages to slow you down – not shut you down.
Make a proper disaster plan. Just as you plan for financial difficulties that could assault your business, make a proper disaster plan and also plan your reactions accordingly.
Recruit your family members so that each member will be available as needed. Rehearse your plan on a regular basis so that you are ready in case disaster strikes suddenly – as it usually does.
Have a good data backup and recovery plan. It’s wise to back up your files regularly and to store them at different locations. That way, if your office is severely damaged, you can still load your data onto another computer and get back into business as soon as possible.
You can back up on thumb drives and CD’s, and you can also store your data on the Internet if your e-mail account has sufficient space. Larger companies have two or three different data centers across the country so the risk factor is minimized; but even small businesses can have three different locations for storing data (i.e., your office, your home and the Internet) and you will have some safety built in.
From time to time, check whether your backup system works by conducting a mock data crash-and-recovery exercise so that you can get an idea as to the time you will need to get back into action.
Make an appointment with your insurance company. When you are planning to purchase an insurance policy for your business, be sure to have a clear understanding with your insurance company what is included and what is excluded.
Also quiz them as to how quickly they settle claims and what kind of financial limits they put on claims for natural disasters. It is a well-known fact that in many parts of the country, flood damage is not covered by most insurance companies unless you purchase an extra rider.
Take precautions. In addition to taking out the proper insurance policies, install circuit breakers and fire extinguishers in your office and home so that disasters such as fires can be detected and dealt with quickly.
Have an underground shelter made if your area is hurricane or tornado prone (such as in ‘tornado alley’ in the Midwest). Make a proper will, if there are many partners or family members involved in your business so that in a worst-case scenario, there is no confusion as to who should take over.
Use these tips to be as ready as quickly possible to face a natural disaster. Even though a disaster might knock you down, you’ll have a better chance of getting back up.