Wikipedia defines a disaster as any disruption that occurs over a long or short period of time causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss. Disasters are divided into two categories: natural and manmade.
We typically think of disasters as the likes of hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes and floods. Let’s take a quick look at what is classed as a manmade disaster:
- Civil unrest
- Acts of bioterrorism
- Urban fires
- Power failures or shut offs
- Hazardous waste spills
- Nuclear and radiation related accidents
But in the workplace, all sorts of situations can disrupt your workday and damage your business. We’re sure that most business owners would class instances like theft, water damage caused by leakage and digital malfunctions as disasters.
You’ve put your blood, sweat and tears—not to mention the bulk of your bank account & a small portion of your soul—into getting your business where it is today. So use these tips to make sure that when disaster strikes, whatever it may be, your business will recover.
1. Plan for the Worst
The best tip to disaster-proof your business is to have a solid disaster and business continuity plan in place. Take a look at your location and the types of disasters that typically occur in and around it. Then come up with the plan from there.
Identify which parts of your business will be impacted by which disaster and determine how you will handle those risks. The following aspects of your daily business responsibilities should be considered when devising your plan:
- How can sales and services continue?
- What will you tell customers, clients and suppliers?
- How will your employees be paid?
- How much budget should I allocate to an emergency disaster fund?
2. Think of the People
Having the best business continuity plan the world has ever seen is no good if nobody knows what it contains. It’s extremely important that all members of your team and staff know what steps to take when a specific situation arises.
Also ask everyone for their input on the plan itself. Who knows, you could have left something out or overlooked certain practicalities while you were devising the plan.
Share the plan with everyone who needs to see it and use the content in the plan as training material. Perform regular disaster training sessions and tests a few times a year to make sure the plan is still efficient & that everyone knows their part in executing it.
3. Physically Protect Your Inventory List
Having a physical safeguard in place when disaster strikes is imperative. Sure, insurance covers a bunch of items such as electronics and equipment, but what about your critical paperwork & records? As far as possible, ensure that your physical location is fireproofed and waterproofed.
Also, lay out your office space or warehouse so that the items that can be easily damaged aren’t potentially in harm’s way. A practical example would be to not place your computers in front of windows for would-be thieves to notice.
In terms of the steps you can take to protect your equipment, electronics and paperwork, look at:
- Installing safes
- Waterproof cabinets
- Keeping the items you don’t use everyday in a storage unit offsite
4. Protect Your Business’s Data
It’s not just earthquakes and fires that can affect your business. Ransomware attacks and even a small network glitch could result in the loss of critical data
Make sure that you have a disaster recovery plan in place with a reputable IT company that will provide you with the support when you need it.
Finding the right IT company to bestow this responsibility on can be tough. If you’re a city slicker you’re in luck. When it comes to IT support services Perth is known for its above-par service providers.
5. Insure Your Business Properly
A business needs insurance. There’s no way around that. Study your existing insurance policy and make sure that it covers everything that could possibly affect your business. We’re talking everything from property damage to theft.
If your business requires a physical location to operate, business interruption insurance is extremely beneficial. A policy will typically cover any income loss that occurs because you’ve been forced to temporarily shut your doors.
You should also make sure that you’re covered by natural disaster insurance for instances such as hurricanes, earthquakes and natural fires & flooding.
Don’t let a natural disaster or one that stems from mankind destroy your business. Make sure that you know what to do when disaster strikes and keep our tips in mind to make sure you make recovery as easy as you can.
Has your business ever been affected by a disaster? If so, what was the fallout? Share your story with us so others can learn how to prepare for the worst.