If you’ve been running your business for a few years, you’ll know something about the various risks it faces. Tough competition, an erratic, unpredictable economy, fussy customers and various other threats could all be lined up against your company. I’m sure you’ll agree that business owners have enough to worry about without storms, fires , hurricanes and other disasters! Although they’re rare, these kinds of disasters can and do happen. Here are some essential steps to help your business survive any disaster…
Assess the Risks
The first step you need to take in ensuring your business’s survival is considering the potential for both natural and man-made disasters. Most small businesses will be able to conduct a quick and effective risk assessment in-house, but if your operation has grown a lot, you may need to bring in an experienced consultant to help. Consider the biggest risk that could constitute a “disaster”. It may be a tornado or hurricane depending on your geographic area, or a spill if your business has to handle any hazardous chemicals. This should be the priority for all your future risk management spending.
Organize your Most Vital Needs in a Checklist
The next step is creating a checklist of your business’s most basic needs, and checking these off as and when you know you’re protected against them. This might include the intention to get an emergency notification app ,setting an evacuation route out of your office, a gathering location for your staff somewhere off-site, external data backups, or a store for any emergency supplies you might need. Try to budget as you go, and substitute more minor costs for things that are essential. The safety of your employees should certainly come before data backup!
Train your Staff
In the event of a disaster, your entire workforce needs to know exactly who’s responsible for what tasks, without a moment of hesitation. To ensure this, you need to set some time aside for choosing people to fill essential roles, and training all of your staff in what they should do in the event of an emergency. This training should cover the best ways for your staff to protect themselves in dangerous situations, the safest way to exit the premises, and who to contact in the event of different scenarios. Having done this, organize some occasional drills in the calendar. As with anything, practice makes perfect!
Keep Paper Documents Safe
Even with today’s modern technology, it’s likely that you have some paper documents which your business couldn’t function without. Having assured the safety of your employees, you need to make sure these documents are also protected. Important records and intellectual property, whenever they’re in paper form, should be kept in water, fire, and bomb-proof containers. Ideally, these should be mobile enough for someone to safely leave the building with them. For most businesses, however, you’ll need to invest in a single, immobile safe. If your business premises is hit by a flood or a fire, then having this cache can be a huge factor in how much downtime you have to suffer.
Maria Fonseca is the Editor and Infographic Artist for IntelligentHQ. She is also a thought leader writing about social innovation, sharing economy, social business, and the commons. Aside her work for IntelligentHQ, Maria Fonseca is a visual artist and filmmaker that has exhibited widely in international events such as Manifesta 5, Sao Paulo Biennial, Photo Espana, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Joshibi University and many others. She concluded her PhD on essayistic filmmaking , taken at University of Westminster in London and is preparing her post doc that will explore the links between creativity and the sharing economy.