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Maintaining Business as Usual in a Disaster: New Web Site Helps Businesses Plan for the Unexpected

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Maintaining Business as Usual in a Disaster: New Web Site Helps Businesses Plan for the Unexpected

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: June 2, 2010

Did you know that roughly 40 to 60 percent* of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster?

And the fact is no business owner is immune. Whether you operate out of a home-based office, lease space on Main Street or do business wherever you can find it;natural and man-made disasters are a constant threat.

Try operating a home-based business without power for several days and, believe me, yo-ll never look at everyday conveniences like power and the Internet in the same way ever again!

The trouble is, many business owners think the threat lies elsewhere, and could-t possibly happen in their back yard. Yet time and time again, from Nashville to the Gulf, California to the Plains, disasters are an ever-present threat to the small business dream that can hit when least expected.

So in light of what we all know, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced this week that it has partnered with Agility Recovery Solutions* to launch an unprecedented effort to develop a one-stop, online resource devoted to the sustainability of small businesses through business continuity planning.

Aptly named Prepare My Business, this online educational portal, provides small business owners access to a variety of tools and solutions to strengthen their firm' resiliency when faced with unforeseen interruptions' whether manmade or natural disasters. Additionally, the program addresses the steps business owners should take in order to develop a business continuity plan, including a detailed risk analysis and evaluation of critical business functions.

What differentiates the'Prepare My Busines' initiative from other disaster assistance resources is that it not only addresses what we come to think of as major disasters such as earthquakes, flooding, and so on, but also offers strategies for preparing for common everyday events such as server failure, burst pipes and power outages' all of which can be equally devastating for a small business.

The user-friendly site (www.preparemybusiness.org) is broken down into the four key actionable elements of disaster preparedness and recovery' Planning, Education (webinars), Testing (i.e. what to test, how to test it, when to tes') and Disaster Assistance (such as SBA Disaster Assistance Loan Programs).

Live Monthly Webinars' Keeping Disaster Preparedness Top-of-Mind

In addition to the web-based resources, SBA and Agility are also hosting a monthly webinar series to promote continuous learning among small business owners. Dates for the first three webinars are already set:

  • 10 Steps to Business Preparedness, June 22. Register
  • Testing Your Recovery Plan, July 27. Register
  • Understanding Disaster Assistance Funding with the SBA, August 24. Register.

    Disaster preparedness can be a lifeline for staying in business - don't leave it until it's too late!

    Additional Resources

    * Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.

    About the Author:

    Caron Beesley


    Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

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