In the wake of Superstorm Sandy was nearly unfathomable destruction of lives and businesses. However, the American spirit is resilient and, together, we’re recovering. It is simply taking time.
During disasters of that magnitude, we often chide ourselves for not being prepared or as prepared as we could have been because much more needs to be done long before the insurance check arrives.
As an attorney and smallbiz owner who assists clients with preparing legacies and for potentially unpleasant events, the need to prepare for disasters isn’t lost on me. Smallbiz owners and their families who depend on the businesses’ earnings are particularly vulnerable, so it’s critical that we have a continuity plan for emergencies.
Like the preparations outlined in a business plan that consider key operations and resources, so should your continuity plan. Below, are a few questions smalbiz owners should consider when devising a disaster recovery plan. Caveat: This list is by no means exhaustive, comprehensive, or tailored to any particular business. It just serves to help us prepare for the next storm.
- What would an all out disaster look like for your business? Consider the elements – wind, fire, earth, water – and how extreme amounts of any would impact your business operations, e.g., causing network outages, inventory destruction, and so forth.
- What are the procedures that would put your business back on track and, specifically, who will be responsible for what and when and how will they perform the necessary tasks?
a. Who will lead the team or how will tasks be divided?
b. Who will contact clients and vendors, and how? What if cell towers are down?
c. Is the disaster just affecting your business or is it also affecting clients?
d. What if the disaster occurs “after hours”?
e. How will you assess the overall impact to your go forward?
- Which business resources or operations are likely to suffer more, e.g., are you a restaurant owner with no electricity but with a refrigerator and a freezer full of food? Are your clients local but your employees commute from long distances?
- Where are your critical client or customer files stored? What if you can’t access the building or your company’s network? Where exactly is your “cloud?”
- Can you temporarily relocate your business, where and do you have sufficient resources to do that?
Indeed, this is a “short list” to help small business owners think about a particularly unpleasant topic. Yet, we smallbiz owners know that asking the important “what ifs?” often saves a bundle down the line, despite the torrential downpours, tumult in the streets, blazes, or blizzards.
The Law Offices of Max Elliott continues extending its thoughts and prayers to families and businesses who experience disaster as winds of change forever sweep our world.