This is part 3 (and the final blog for now) to present some practical, simple and straight forward approaches which will not stop disasters but should allow you to cope and your business to survive and continue. Remember more than 40% of businesses never reopen following a disaster and of the remaining companies; at least 25% will close in 2 years.
It’s important to realise that having the right measures in place can help your business avoid disasters; and adopting other tactics will aid you in getting your business up and running quickly if disaster strikes. Some very important business continuity actions to do today are described below.
Dust off your policies – Reading through all the fine print can be daunting, it’s important that you thoroughly understand your company’s different insurance policies. What physical disasters are covered? What forms or filings need to be complete after a disaster strikes? Just finding these may be an initial issue!
Communicate with your team – If you’re a small business with a few employees, they will be looking to you for direct guidance and positive encouragement during any disaster. It will ease pressure on you if they also know ahead of time what to do. For small and medium sized companies internal communications around the disaster must come from the business owners.
Communicate with external stakeholders – In addition to providing employees with guidance, you’ll also need to communicate with your external stakeholders (customers, suppliers, emergency services, police, etc.) who will be expecting to hear from you. Make a list of all potential stakeholders (with contact details) that could be impacted by a disaster; and keep it at-hand if and when the time comes to communicate. For instance, do you have suppliers or vendors who may be planning deliveries? What about people expecting payments, deliveries or services from your business? What do customers and clients need to know about how the disaster impacted your business? If a data breach of sensitive customer information occurred, planning an alert ahead of time can prevent customers from hearing about it through third parties and not directly from you.
Communication methods – Determine the method of internal and external communications. Will you individually notify people via email, phone or the mail? Or will you post information on your website, social network sites or corporate blog?
Money management – Even during a disaster, businesses need to pay their bills, run their payroll and pay suppliers. Be sure you know what all of these accounts are and have contact information for all of these parties, in addition to ensuring your financial management system is backed up properly.
Keeping all this key information copied away from your office will reduce the stress involved and will enable your company to survive most types of disasters. Maybe just keeping an electronic record and email yourself and key employees the instructions for what to do during the first few hours and days after a disaster including stakeholder contacts could be the simplest option.
What plans have you made if and when a disaster hits your business?