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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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How to Build a Disaster Plan for Your Business

 

It’s easy to put blinders on and just tell yourself that nothing terrible will ever happen to your business. Yet, most business owners are reminded that they can’t control everything.

 

Don’t wait until disaster strikes to act. Instead, give your business its best chance at survival by creating a disaster plan well in advance. In the case that major damage does occur, you can rest assured now that you’re ready for it down the road.

 

Below, we’re going over everything you need to know to create a thorough disaster plan as a business owner. From property damage to cyberattacks and economic downturns, stay ahead of the game by planning an appropriate response.

 

What to Prepare For

The odds that disaster actually will strike are slim, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important to think about it. Rather, you can avoid the negative impact or mitigate loss if you take the time to plan for now.

 

As far as “disasters” go, there are three categories you should plan for as a business owner:

  • Property damage by weather or an act of God
  • Data loss and cyber attacks
  • Economic injury or recession

 

Property Damage

Make a plan for how your business will respond to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, and floods.

 

For each disaster, you want to address a few different things:

  • First, you want an evacuation plan as well as a plan to continue operating afterward.
  • Then, create an emergency kit that can be used after evacuation to treat any injuries and take the next steps. This should include first aid supplies, a tool kit, batteries, nonperishable food, bottled water, and maybe a battery-powered radio.
  • You also want to consider who you would call to help mitigate burn damage after a fire or to remove mold after flooding in cities like Miami. Keep those emergency contacts on hand, so you know who to call.

 

Property damage could mean a loss of the records and valuable items inside your business location. Make sure you have backup copies to access if you lose physical access to your property. On that note, review your insurance policies as well to check for coverage.

 

Data Loss

Cyber-attacks and data breaches are real threats to today’s modern businesses. The Small Business Association offers a number of cybersecurity tips for small businesses to prepare for things like this:

 

  • Keep your security software updated
  • Control physical access to computers and use separate accounts for users
  • Secure Wi-Fi networks
  • Train employees on security principles such as password changing, internet use guidelines
  • Add security measures to payments

 

Economic Injury

Creating a plan for economic injury or recession isn’t something anyone wants to do, but the reality is that those who do are much better off when disaster does strike. Your disaster plan for this portion should include things like:

 

  • How you can pay off debts without incurring any new ones
  • Plan to build a “rainy day fund” or emergency fund
  • Exploration of recession-proof business models by offering products or services that will always be needed, like food/beverage or healthcare
  • Figure out how you will initially respond - include things like layoffs, furloughs, severance packages

 

Think Ahead for Best Results

No one wants to think about the worst-case scenario, but those that are prepared always end up better off.

 

Now is a great time to get ahead of the curve and start planning for a disaster down the road, because you never know when one will strike. If that time ever does come, you’ll be able to reduce your losses and maximize your recovery potential thanks to your disaster plan.

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