Many businesses faced with disasters never open again. There are many types of disasters, from big (think hurricanes) to small (minor fire or flood.) But even the less severe disasters come with a deluge of difficulties and problems for a business owner, even if they do have business insurance. It’s important to make sure that you have a plan to cope with a disaster so that your business can survive. Preparation is essential. To help you get ready for a disaster, we’ve got a few tips for planning.
1. Figure out what your risks are.
You can’t plan for something if you don’t know what it is. You need to think of what scenarios are likely to happen to your business, but don’t forget to plan for things that maybe aren’t super likely but are still possible. For example, what would you do if your business was faced with a fire? A severe storm? Flooding? Do you know how to lower your cyber risks? There are a lot of things that need to be planned for because it’s hard to know the odds of a particular disaster hitting your business.
2. Think about how your business would be affected.
What would happen if one of these disasters hit your business? What would you need to do to compensate and adjust? How would you cope with the losses? Would you have to relocate? How would you keep your business going while your facility is out of order?
3. Get some safeguards and procedures in place to lower your risks.
You’ll need to enlist the help of some of your employees and make them the disaster planning team. Their job will be to brainstorm some procedures to help you keep going in the face of a fire or flood. You should come up with some plans and backup plans for how you deal with the disaster situation. That might include figuring out a location that you can work out of while you can’t be in your building and knowing who to call to repair the damage. You should also know how you’re going to notify employees and customers about the situation, and make sure they know how you’ll be in touch.
Your goals should be to protect your customers and employees from risk and maintain customer service by reducing disruption as much as possible. Your procedures should also include steps to protect your facilities and assets – for instance, taking steps to prevent a burglary at your business. It’s also important to lower environmental contamination risks and protect your organization’s brand and reputation.
4. Test your disaster procedures.
It’s not just enough to talk the talk. Everyone has to be able to walk the disaster plan. You need to have an idea of how your procedures will unfold in practice. That might mean training your employees about the procedures and making some calls to find out about the feasibility of your plans. You need to make sure that your plan will actually work when it’s time for you to use it.
5. Keep the disaster plan up to date.
You also need to make sure to revise the plan as you need to. Things change. You need to take into account anything that could cause a need for adjustment or change in the disaster plan.
6. Know how to handle an evacuation.
Apart from planning on how to keep your business going when there’s a disaster, you need to know how to get everyone out of your building safely if there’s something like a fire. To do that, you need to…
- Know when an evacuation is needed.
- Have a chain of command.
- Know who’s going to set the evacuation in motion.
- Post evacuation routes and plans with multiple ways out of the building.
- Have a place for people to gather so you can take a headcount.
- Get a list of names and pinpoint the last known location of missing people.
- Have practices and training.
Having a clear evacuation plan can help you limit injuries and organize the chaos of an emergency. If everyone knows what to do and how to proceed, they’ll be much calmer and safer in the event that they need to clear out of the building.
If you have a small business, you need to know how you’re going to cope with a disaster situation. Take some time to think about how you’re going to keep the ship afloat and how you’re going to make everything as smooth as possible. Having a plan and knowing what to do will spare you from a lot of uncertainty when it comes to handling a disaster, and it’ll help your employees and customers feel much less stressed and frustrated with the situation. Being prepared never hurt anyone.
If you need insurance for your business, we would love to help you out with that! We can get you free quotes for your business insurance, including property, general liability, and workers’ comp. All you have to do to get started with getting your insurance is fill out our quote form or give us a call today.