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Idea Exchange: How Does Your Business Prepare for a Natural Disaster?

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Idea Exchange: How Does Your Business Prepare for a Natural Disaster?

By nicoj
Published: July 6, 2011 Updated: April 30, 2012


Getting back to business after a disaster depends on how prepared you are today. As a small business owner, you invest your time, money and effort to make a venture successful. Having an emergency plan in place before a disaster strikes can mean staying in business after a disaster, and in some cases, saving your company.  As hurricane season begins, disaster preparedness is critical.

Last month, we asked small business owners in the SBA Community for their advice on putting together a disaster preparedness plan, and for those that experienced a disaster, we asked about the steps they took to help their business recover after the disaster. Here are some of their tips:

Invest the Time to Make a Plan

inevolvesb advised businesses take a disaster scenario seriously and make the smart move to put together a preparedness plan, saying “it makes good business sense to have a plan. It doesn't require a huge investment to protect your company either.”

Test Your Plan Frequently

smallbusinesshelp recommended testing a recovery plan annually, or more frequently, in order to gage its effectiveness. They commented “by testing your plan each year, you ensure that the plan is still up to date and relevant to your present situation.”

Backup Your Files Electronically

rribeiro and LifeCube suggested businesses use a remote access system to backup valuable IT resources in the event of a natural disaster, or use an IT “Cloud”. Rribeiro commented  “if your business is able to operate remotely, while others around you aren't, not only will your data and operations be safe, but you'll be ahead of the game.”


About the Author:

Nico Janssen
My name is Nico and I'm serving as a moderator for the Community.


Thanks, great tips. A natural disaster is not something I think about as destroying my business, but it is a reality. You cannot keep the "it won't happen to me" attitude because it certainly can happen to you. I will be working on my disaster preparedness plan in the near future.
With a greater than normal variation in the climate leading to a spate of natural disasters, it is time each of us had a hard look at our insurance policies both life as well as property/ business related. If you are not covered by insurance, now is the time to get yourself insured. If covered, check the type of coverage and the risks covered. Also, have a hard look at the track record of the insurance company which covers you to understand how speedy and sensible their claim settlement process is.
Having consulted with a number of small businesses, seems it's always "each day as it comes" as opposed to projections, both financially and in the event of disasters etc. From PC passwords to email, it's all fragmented, and it's no surprise most of us small business owners spend so much time baby sitting our businesses instead of focusing on critical projects, like revenue generation etc. Companies such as dropbox, my pc backup etc seem to have established themselves as authorities in this space though.
First and foremost, I would advise all entrepreners to revisit their insurance plans at the time of every renewal. Reassess the risks and see if you are fully covered. Insurance will help in getting your business back on track if and when disaster strikes.
Thanks for the info. In California, some extra tips for Earthquakes related disasters would also be helpful.
I think cloud technology is a vital backup plan for small businesses. Most businesses rely heavily on technology and software. I dont think we place enough importance on just how difficult it would be for some businesses if all their data was lost. At least now if we back up on cloud we can recover our data even if the hardware is damaged.
True, nowadays everything backs up automatically on a cloud of some kind. Look at the mobile phones, they are the perfect example.
Our company focuses on providing IT solutions specifically to SMBs. Many SMBs don't think about natural disaster preparedness - especially here in the midwest. While hurricanes don't pose a threat here, any business can easily be affected by tornadoes, flooding, ice storms, or blackouts. It's important for all businesses - no matter their size or physical location - to have a disaster and recovery plan in place to ensure the livelihood of the company.
As an insurance agent, I love this article! It is extremely important to prepare for emergencies and disasters, and they are dead on when they say to invest the time to make a plan and to test the plan. Another important thing to do each year, is to check with your insurance agent. Schedule this around the time that you test your plan, and contact your insurance agent to verify your coverage is up to date and that you have the correct coverage for your area. This could save you a ton of time and money in the event of an emergency or disaster.
Natural Disaster? I use Dropbox - Cloud Service - backup data for my company. It is the perfect place to store your important files.


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