How to effectively prepare your business for a natural disaster
The key to succeeding in the world of business is leaving no blind spots. And one of the main blind spots would be forgetting that the world of business coexists with our own world – a world fragile and susceptible to various misfortunes. According to a survey published by CNBC, as much as 40% of small businesses never reopen after a natural disaster. These numbers need to be taken very seriously.
So, let’s take a quick look at the things you can do to prepare your enterprise for the times of crises.
Assess the risk
Some areas are more prone to natural disasters than others. Likewise, some industries run a higher risk of losing their assets as a consequence of these calamities. That’s why, if you ever want to develop a comprehensive response and prevention plan, you need to do a thorough risk assessment. Essentially, a regular risk assessment consists of these three parts:
● Identification of potential hazards
● Identification of the assets that could be at risk
● Impact analysis
Try to determine the cost of interruptions
Once you know the dangers your business can face and the assets that can most likely be affected, it’s time to see how much money you may lose due to damage and downtime caused by the disaster. While doing this, don’t be afraid to go with less optimistic projections – underestimating the real costs of the disaster can only stall your business even longer. Here's the short list of the topics your projections should cover:
● Lost income
● Payroll during down times
● The cost of temporary office space
● The cost of relocation
Review the insurance coverage
Investing in property insurance is one of the best ways to make sure your business will be able to rebound after the damage has been done. However, you have to make sure that the premiums you are paying are able to cover the costs of property replacement in the case your premises suffer a total loss. Fortunately, you can always resort to professional building insurance valuation to make sure your assessments are accurate enough. For example, if your valuation is off by just a wrong construction material, your insurance won’t be able to cover the loss and your business may need more time to recover.
Prepare the emergency plan
Your employees need to have a written procedure of how they are going to behave in case of a disaster and they are forced to leave their workplaces. Of course, writing the emergency plan is only a half solution. The emergency procedures should be prominently displayed throughout your premises and your workers should practice evacuation at least once a month. Also, it is a good idea to include your digital assets into the emergency plan as well. A thorough backup strategy should prevent loss of valuable data which can be equally as crippling as the loss of physical assets.
Establish clear communication rules
Once the disaster strikes, the survival of the business and the safety of the employees depend on the speed and the communication method. How are you going to contact the employees? What happens if the premises are closed during a disaster? What’s the fastest way to distribute relevant updates? In the time of crisis, these questions can cause a lot of confusion. That is why you need to write a communication plan that will address these problems through clear rules and procedures.
Create a crisis response network
Of course, your business is not an isolated entity and the eventual losses you may have to endure in the case of calamity may be caused by external factors. For instance, what if your suppliers are cut off or having the same problems as your enterprise? Because of that, it would be a good idea to have a meeting with all the parties involved in your business's operations where you will present your emergency plans and try to coordinate your actions. This emergency response network can have its own budget and executives and eventually expand to other local establishments.
These six steps should help you to prepare your business for any kind of danger that might be lurking down the road. We don’t really get to choose when some kind of misfortune may befall our companies and try to ruin the years of hard work we put into them. But, we can choose how we are going to deal with these problems.
About the author: Mike Johnston is a home improvement blogger and DIY enthusiast from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and contributor to numerous home, lifestyle, real estate and eco-friendly blogs. Mike’s goal is to create and share meaningful content that helps and inspires people.