It hard to ignore the disruption of lives and the destruction of property caused by Harvey’s move through Texas and other parts of the South West.
Interviews of those affected are sad, but the spirit shown by many to rebuild their lives is encouraging and a reminder of the American spirit during difficult times.
Travelers Insurance Group conducted a business continuity study and found that 48% of small businesses have no disaster plan to guide them through a process to continue their business after a natural or man-made disaster; but 95% indicated they felt there were prepared.
In an informal survey, I performed with business owners, I also discovered that most do not have a plan to respond to a tragedy like Harvey or other events that could prevent them from operating their business. Plus, which was most surprising, they have not given any thought of creating one.
So, what about you?
When your business location becomes damaged and you can no longer operate as usual, what steps are you going to take to move forward, to keep your staff, your suppliers and other important relationships?
Here are some questions to provide some clarity of what you will be facing when disaster strikes your business:
- Do your employees know what to do and how to do it?
- Who is responsible for the various steps you need to take to restart, fix what needs fixing, and where to begin?
- Who do you contact to help you rebuild?
- Where’s your customer list and who and how will they be contacted?
- Is your employee contact list up to date so you can reach them?
- Where are your important business records, accounts receivables and other valuable business records, and your computer data located for immediate use?
- What alternative facilities have you selected to use?
- Where’s the list of your supplies, vendors and important strategic partners and how will you contact them?
The numbers speak for themselves: Most of business that suffer a severe event do not reopen. What a financial loss to the owners and a terrible loss to employees and their families?
“According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), more than 40% of businesses never reopen after a disaster, and for those that do, only 29% were still operating after two years. And guess what likely becomes of those that lost their information technology for nine days or more after a disaster? Bankruptcy within one year.” Read the Forbes article “Will Your Business Recover From Disaster?”
A plan to continue your business can also be a competitive advantage. San Francisco Bay Area Risk Manager, Charles Wilson, found this to be a marketing tool for one of his clients to differentiate them from others in their industry. You many find more information about Charles at his website RiskSmart Solutions.
Yes, it is an invest of time to create a thorough plan and prepare your employees to execute it.
But, why would you want to gamble the loss of your investment, future income and danger your employees by not taking steps to create a plan of action?
You can’t count on the government or others to bail you out. And, certainly your insurance is not the cure all, because it does not coverage all possible events.
Shortly, my team and I will create a detailed booklet to help you through the risk management process of creating a disaster plan to continue your business. In the meantime, here are some resources for your use:
- Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety
- Insurance Information Institute – Small Business Disaster Recovery Plan
- SBA – Small Business Administration – Protect Your Business Ahead of The Storm
This will get you started, help you focus on what risks you feel you have and what you need to be thinking about as you begin to move forward with your planning.
It just so happens that September is National Preparedness Month. The Ready.Gov website is also an interesting resource for your business and family emergency planning. Their slogan is “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead – You Can.”
So, take the “dive” and get going.
Stay tuned – there’s more to come.
Contact me with your questions about this or other RisksNThreats topics; by phone: 916-960-8758 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Conversations are a no obligation and a no “strings attached” event.