Every business, big or small, faces many challenges, and some of the biggest challenges are disasters, especially natural disasters. It doesn’t matter what part of the world your business operates in; Natural disasters are possible in any part of the planet. Floods, storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. are among the most common types of natural disasters. Because of this, it is highly recommended to properly prepare for a natural disaster. According to the Red Cross, major natural disasters like earthquakes and floods are so damaging to small businesses that 40% of those affected are shut down forever.
So how important is it to prepare for disasters for small businesses?
A professional impression
Disaster preparedness and disaster recovery plans are often associated with large corporations and organizations. But are small businesses safe from disasters? Your small business needs a contingency plan just like any big business out there. A disaster plan that is integrated and documented in your system gives a very professional impression of your company. When you become a big company, you can get tested on a hundred different things. In addition, your employees will also be happy to work with a long-term thinking company.
Prevention of various disasters
While not much can be done about natural disasters, there is something you can do about man-made disasters and their mistakes. A human may intentionally damage your property as a result of jealousy, in response to unfair treatment, or as a bad business tactic. If you have the right equipment and system, it’s difficult to cause such damage to the company. In most cases, man-made disasters come in the form of a fire that can burn down all of the important documents for a company and all of the systems that store valuable customer information.
Preparing for a disaster doesn’t always mean you have to maintain business continuity. Another important part of disaster preparedness is the safety of your employees. Sometimes you can’t immediately see what could go wrong. A storm or hurricane can damage utility poles and cables. Without proper protection, this damage can result in the death of your employees. In addition, if you are not prepared for a flood, you could call your employees to work and damage their vehicles.
One of the reasons for preparing for disasters is to maintain business continuity. If you live in a region where certain types of natural disasters are common, you need to prepare for those first and then other types of disasters. For example, a company in Japan needs to prepare for an earthquake and tsunami. Some parts of America have more tornadoes each year than storms in the entire country. If you have a plan for such disasters, you can ensure the continuity of your business even if the disaster strikes.
Business continuity can be as simple as asking your employees to work from home. To make this possible, you may want to move all of your data and critical business applications to the cloud so that you can ask your employees to work if your company servers go down. Another important aspect to continue your business despite major disasters is to backup your data. When it comes to backups, you can’t just keep the data in one place. The idea is to back up your business data every day and move the backup to a different location. If your budget allows, you can back up the data to more than two locations.
An important aspect of disaster preparedness is sharing this knowledge with your employees. You must also update them with any changes you make to your disaster preparedness and recovery plan. For example, if a fire suddenly breaks out in your business premises, your employees need to know what to do first. You should also ask your employees to install all essential business applications, software tools, etc. on their devices if your response to a disaster requires them to work from home. When your employees know exactly what to do in the event of a disaster, they can react immediately to a bad situation, giving you virtually no downtime.
Disaster preparedness and recovery is not just about being prepared for a catastrophic situation. In fact, it’s also about running the business and restoring business operations after a disaster with as few resources as possible. A company without a disaster plan can recover from a disaster. The big difference, however, is that an unprepared company will need to expend a lot of money and resources to get back on its feet, while a company with a plan will continue operating with minimal effort.
Improved B2B relationships
Not only your customers but also your business partners are affected when your business is temporarily closed due to a disaster. They may rely on you for their mission-critical processes, and your absence may mean they either go out of business or find another partner to get things up and running immediately. On the other hand, if your business continues despite a disaster, your business partners will get a very positive impression of you. This will help you retain your business partners as now they can trust your professionalism and seriousness in business.
To prepare for disasters, you must first change your mind about the whole situation. Many small business owners think things like contingency planning are better suited to large companies or when a company has grown large enough to have multiple offices. What they don’t realize is that it’s much easier to recover from an emergency when you have multiple locations than when you only have one location. So, start assessing your risks today, create a solid communications plan, and document your disaster preparedness plan today.