Having the right insurance coverage is one important piece in maintaining business continuity. However, many business owners don’t realize how important a disaster plan is until it’s too late. Ninety percent of businesses fail within a year if they are unable to resume operations within five days of a disaster. Yet only 35% of small to medium size businesses have a comprehensive plan. The best time to get your plan together is well before you ever need it so that you have ample time to test its components and make necessary modifications.
To get started, determine all the critical components to the operation of your business, from computer and phone systems to electrical, plumbing, suppliers, shipping, mailing and staffing and communication (both within the company and to the outside community). For each area, a detailed guide that describes the steps necessary for a substitute or workaround to the problem and then a permanent solution must be provided. Remember that the person normally responsible for each critical area may not be available at the time of need. In that event, the disaster plan must be written so that a layperson can follow the right steps to getting your business back in operation as quickly as possible.
Once you have the critical areas of operation identified, set up a timeline for completion of the plan and stick to it. Assign appropriate “experts” for each area to carefully lay out instructions. Test each portion of the plan along the way. Be sure to appoint a continuity team within your organization—these members will work together on disaster situations of a larger scale to coordinate efforts.
An important component of the disaster plan will be lists, such as employee contact information, inventory, vendors and suppliers, repair persons, customers and insurance information. Be certain that your computer data is being saved and stored off-site. Prepare ahead of time for the possibility of having to conduct operations at an alternate location.
These guidelines should start you on a path to prepare for the worst and be ready when it happens. That is true peace of mind.
For more information on risk management contact an Accel Group Advisor. Located in Eastern Iowa. For more information on securely backing up and protecting your business-critical data, contact Axis Backup.