Have you ever wondered what would happen to your business in case of a disaster? Natural disasters and technical failures can turn your life upside down if you’re not well-prepared for them. According to FEMA, about 40% of small businesses won’t reopen after they’ve been struck by a devastating disaster.
With the right measures in place, you can avoid some of those hazards. And, even though you can’t fight against nature, there are actionable ways that can help you protect your business.
Infrastructure and Equipment Failures
What assets are vital for your business? You need a plan for each asset in case it breaks down. Such assets may include cameras, vehicles, computers, and your entire workplace.
Research local co-working places. Finding one that’s the right fit for your business in terms of facilities, expenses, logistics, etc. can take a long time. If you can’t use your workplace, you wouldn’t want to waste precious time looking for an alternative. Have one ready.
Invest in backup items which you could keep at a storage facility. You can buy backup computers, phones, and other inexpensive equipment. But, buying two pieces of the same expensive equipment may not be that cost-effective. This brings us to our next step.
Review Your Insurance Policies
If your small business gets closed down because of a disaster, you may lose thousands of dollars per day. To mitigate financial loses, you need to make sure you have a sound insurance policy. If your current insurance won’t cover such costs, it may be time to find a better option.
Many business owners go with property insurance that only covers expensive equipment and infrastructure damages. Make sure your insurance will cover cleanup and repair costs as well.
Look for a business interruption cover. With such a plan in place, your insurance company will compensate you for the drop in income in case of a disaster. Such a plan will cost more than a basic one, but If any misfortune happens, you can rest assured you’ll have a steady stream of income.
Work on Your Fire Strategy
A fire can break out due to numerous hazards. With a proper fire strategy in place, you can significantly minimize such risks. You don’t need a risk management department for this, but you do need to invest enough time, money, and effort.
Start by training and educating your employees. Build employee awareness and organize training programs. Your employees must know how to detect a fire hazard and report it. Such training should also focus on teaching employees how to follow your company’s evacuation plan.
If you have an evacuation plan just because the law tells you must have one, you need to improve it. Your employees must know how to immediately respond to a fire alarm.
Your equipment and infrastructure can be the biggest fire hazard if they are not properly maintained. Hire trained and certified professionals to inspect both your building and your equipment. And, they should do it often. This especially goes for high-risk equipment like fire ducts.
Fire hazards may be where you least inspect them. People know that badly configured ductwork can be troublesome. But, businesses may neglect the importance of proper smoke extract duct insulation.
In case faulty ducts cause a fire, badly installed insulation can cause flashovers and exacerbate the disaster. That’s why professionals also test the integrity of the insulation. An untrained eye is likely to overlook such hazards. To prevent tragic mishaps, you must have a proper system of checks in place.
Illness and Unavailability
If you are running your small business like a ‘one-man show,’ it can spell danger if you suddenly become ill or unavailable. You need to have trusted employees or associates who will cover for you for a longer period of time if something happens to you.
Even if your business is small, you could use a “vice president.” Do you have anyone who could jump in and grab the steering wheel if needed? If not, your objective should be to identify someone reliable and trustworthy with whom you see eye to eye.
Back up and Protect Your Data
A sudden loss of power can trigger data loss. Failing to back up and protect your data can lead to loss of income and missed business opportunities. In case of data loss, having a backup can soften the blow. Most small businesses do not have a proper data recovery plan–despite the risks.
Cloud storages are typically the most convenient backup solution. But, no matter if your data is in the cloud or on your computer hardware, it can fall victim to viruses and hackers.
For instance, ransomware is a type of virus that targets both big and small businesses. It penetrates a company’s system, encrypts its sensitive data, and then promises to unlock it if you pay a ransom to its programmers. It never does.
The biggest reason that happens is sloppy ‘IT hygiene.’ It’s best to hire a part-time IT consultant who can help you disaster-proof your data. Such a professional can train your employees on how to protect themselves and your company from malicious internet activities. Training your employees to exercise internet safety is a one-time, cost-effective investment.
Some forces will always be out of your control. But, by working on prevention and improving your business’s resilience, it will have much better chances of surviving a disaster. It will take a bit more effort and funds. But, a disaster-proof strategy will also give you peace of mind. That will allow you to focus on what’s most important–running and growing your business.