Flood. Tornado. Biohazard event. Operational disruptions happen. Approximately 40% of small businesses don’t reopen following an interruption or disaster. Your business doesn’t have to be part of that woeful statistic. Regardless of whether you’re operating a private business, public entity, or nonprofit, it’s critical that you plan now, assess the risks, prepare a communication plan that will carry you through the rough patch, and familiarize yourself with the resources available to you.
Clouds on the Horizon: Plan Ahead
Natural and man-made disasters can be an existential threat to your business. Being prepared for the worst can make all the difference in how your business survives during the disruption and how it recovers after. Avoid a prolonged closure, facilitate smoother communications with employees and customers, lay the groundwork for a better settlement from your insurance company, and preserve your market standing by developing a well-thought-out emergency plan. Allow your pre-emergency preparations to be the reason your organization beats the odds and makes it out the other side.
Crafting an emergency preparedness and recovery plan requires collaboration and perseverance. There isn’t a single cookie-cutter emergency plan that can be used across the board for all businesses. However, there are some top-level concerns that should be considered in every plan. Utilize Mooring’s free Disaster Recovery Planning 101 Worksheet to kickstart the process of drafting your custom business continuity plan.
Know Your Enemy: Assess the Risks
Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be anticipated, but some completely blindside you. Regardless of the nature of the emergency, knowledge is power. You can’t plan for what you don’t know. When formulating a plan, first assess liabilities, especially to mission-critical functions, and determine the likelihood of their occurrence. With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be empowered to strategize for each potential business interruption. Download Mooring’s Risk Analysis Worksheet to guide you through this process.
Get Down to Business: Plan and Prepare
Once risks are identified, it’s time to take action:
- Audit your current policies, practices, and facilities to pinpoint how to mitigate potential risks before they become emergencies.
- Establish threat-specific procedures and protocols for your organization in the event of a disaster.
- Within your organization’s emergency procedures, establish an order of operations and establish who is responsible for what tasks.
- Consider how tasks will be managed if the assignee becomes incapacitated or is unavailable.
- Thoroughly train every employee and stakeholder on emergency plans, even if their role is simply to evacuate the facility.
Communication is key when all hell breaks loose. Following an emergency, your organization must respond immediately, accurately, and confidently. Document your Crisis Communication Plan using Mooring’s free worksheet.
Remember: your emergency plan should be a living document, continually being reviewed and updated. Make regular adjustments based on periodic trials and evolving situations and priorities.