Any business, whether small or large, faces many challenges and some of the biggest challenges are in the form of disasters, especially natural ones. It doesn’t matter where in the world your business operates; natural disasters are possible in all parts of the planet. Floods, storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. They are among the most common types of natural disasters. That is why it is highly recommended that you have the proper preparation for a natural disaster. According to the Red Cross, major natural disasters like earthquakes and floods are so damaging to small businesses that 40% of those affected by one of these close forever.
So what is the importance of disaster preparedness for small businesses?
A professional impression
Disaster preparedness and recovery plans are often associated with large companies and organizations. But are small businesses protected from disasters? Your small business needs a disaster plan as much as any large business. Having a disaster plan integrated into your system and documented gives a very professional impression of your business. When you become a large company, you can get an audit of hundreds of different things. Plus, your employees will also be happy to work with a company that thinks long-term.
Prevention of various disasters
While not much can be done about natural disasters, there is something that can be done about human-caused disasters and their mistakes. A human being may intentionally damage your property as a result of jealousy, a reaction to unfair treatment, or as a bad business tactic. When you have the right equipment and system in place, it is difficult to cause such harm to the business. In most cases, man-made disasters take the form of a fire that can burn down all the important documents of a business and any system that stores valuable customer information.
Preparing for a disaster doesn’t always mean you have to maintain business continuity. In fact, another important part of disaster preparedness is the safety of your employees. Sometimes you can’t instantly tell what could go wrong. A storm or hurricane can damage power lines and poles. If not properly protected, this damage can result in the death of your employees. Also, when you are not prepared to deal with a flood, you can end up calling your employees to work and damaging their vehicles.
One of the reasons to be prepared for disasters is to maintain business continuity. If you live in a region where certain types of natural disasters are common, you need to prepare for these first and then for other types of disasters. For example, a company in Japan will have to prepare for an earthquake and tsunami. In some parts of the United States, there are more tornadoes each year than storms across the country. When you have a plan for such disasters, you can ensure the continuity of your business even when disaster strikes.
Continuing with business operations can be as easy as asking your employees to work from home. To make this possible, you may want all your important business data and applications to move to the cloud, so that when your company’s servers are down, you can ask your employees to work. Another important aspect of continuing your business despite major disasters is backing up your data. When it comes to backup, you can’t back up your data to one location. The idea is to back up your business data every day and move the backup to another location. If your budget allows, you can back up your data to even more than two locations.
An important aspect of disaster preparedness is sharing this knowledge with your employees. You should also update them with any changes you make to your disaster preparedness and recovery plan. For example, if a sudden fire occurs within your company premises, your employees should know what the first course of action should be. You should also ask your employees to have all the important business applications, software tools, etc. installed on their devices if your response to a disaster is to ask them to work from home. When your employees know exactly what to do in the event of a disaster, they can get a response to a bad situation instantly, so you will face virtually no downtime.
Disaster preparedness and recovery is not just about being prepared for a disastrous situation. In fact, it is also about being able to run the business and recover business operations after a disaster with as little resources as possible. A business without a disaster plan can also recover from a disaster. However, the big difference here is that the unprepared company will have to spend a great deal of money and resources to get back on its feet, while a company with a plan will continue operations with minimal effort.
Improved B2B relationships
It is not just your customers, but also your business partners that are affected when your business is temporarily closed due to a disaster. They may depend on you for their mission-critical processes, and your absence may cause you to stop operations or find another partner to make things work instantly. On the other hand, if your business continues to operate despite being hit by disaster, your business partners will leave a very positive impression of you. This will help you retain your business partners as they can now rely on your professionalism and seriousness in business.
To prepare for disasters, the first thing you need to do is change your mind about the whole situation. Many small business owners think that things like disaster plans are better suited to large businesses or when a business has grown large enough to have multiple branches. What they don’t realize is that it is much easier to recover from a disaster when you have multiple locations than when you have only one location. So, start assessing your risks today, create a solid communication plan, and document your disaster preparedness plan today.