All natural disasters have the power to disrupt businesses and force them to stop their operations.
In the Midwest, tornadoes threaten businesses, and along the coasts, tropical storms and hurricanes have the potential to harm businesses.
Businesses that are located near large bodies of water are susceptible to flooding from overflowing water.
Regardless of location, all businesses can be threatened by thunderstorms and the damage they can cause, be it from flooding, strong winds, or another factor.
No matter where your business is located or what natural disasters it is prone to, the important thing to know is whether your business can survive in the event of a natural disaster such as water damage caused by floods or hurricanes. .
Because of the potential for natural disasters to harm businesses, it is crucial to have a business continuity plan. Such a plan has been known to help businesses survive natural disasters. Of the businesses that recover after a natural disaster, 40 to 60 percent of them had a business continuity plan, so it’s worthwhile to take the time to properly create one.
A business continuity plan that has been thoroughly developed focuses on the following aspects: business assets, business partners, business processes, and other factors that help businesses resume their operations immediately. Among the many advantages of a business continuity plan are minimal interruptions in business, limited financial losses, and a quickened restoration process.
Before developing a business continuity plan, though, you need to conduct a business impact analysis. Through this, you establish how a natural disaster would affect your business financially, figure out potential losses your business may have as a result, and what needs to be done if your business’s operations are halted for a day, a week, and a month.
Creating the Plan
When you’re done conducting the business impact analysis, use those findings to develop the business continuity plan.
According to experts, there are six important steps to take when making a business continuity plan:
- Create the plan’s extent and identify potential threats.
- Identify crucial business personnel and areas of operation. Then put a team together that will be responsible for enforcing the continuity plan if a disaster happens.
- Pinpoint essential functions for your business.
- Map out how different areas within the business rely upon others.
- Determine an allotted downtime for every business function.
- Create a strategy for resuming and maintaining business operations.
Furthermore, business owners need to know all about the plan, who can access the plan, and where it can be found.
Make a checklist that includes necessary business equipment and supplies in addition to backup site locations and data back-up instructions.
Secure all information for your business by uploading it to both an external hard drive and a cloud-based platform on a regular basis, ensuring there are multiple backups of all files and information. Some of the information you should back-up includes business emails, financial records, and employee information.
You also need to make note of contact information for key employees, financial institutions, local disaster restoration companies, the insurance company for your business, and emergency respondents, so such information is available when needed.
Determine Offsite Locations
Find places where your staff can continue working and your business can keep operating. It is good to have several options for an offsite location in case certain places are inaccessible and/or have also been affected by a disaster.
It is essential that every business has an emergency kit on hand. Among the items to include in the emergency kit are water, food, a first-aid kit, batteries, a flashlight, tools, and a battery-powered radio or another communication device.
Be sure to also include a copy of the business continuity plan in the emergency kit.
Testing and Updating the Plan
When the plan has been created, test it to check for its effectiveness and any improvements that can be made. By testing the plan, your business’s staff and personnel have the opportunity to become familiar with it.
Hold a staff meeting to conduct a walk-through of the business continuity plan. Per expert advice, practice the plan two to four times each year in addition to holding a yearly emergency evacuation drill. In addition, discuss and update the plan at least once a year to ensure it is still accurate and effective.
If your business has suffered from disasters in the past, include any lessons learned from such situations.
Offer Training for the Plan
Business owners need to know the business continuity plan well, but employees should be familiar with the plan, too, as it affects them as well. Give your staff a copy of the plan and offer them training. The training allows staff members to further familiarize themselves with the plan and ensures they know what to do in the event of a natural disaster.
If you create a business continuity plan and follow the aforementioned tips included above, then you will give your business a greater chance at surviving when a natural disaster strikes.
One of the most important things to do when creating the plan is to include the contact information for a professional service that performs commercial disaster restoration. You will need to seek help to have your business restored, and a professional restoration company can do just that.