For Your Small Business
There are so many different websites that you can visit to get a detailed, emergency guide for any kind of disaster that can affect your business and the people who are apart of making your small business possible. Including employees, clients, and even products and services, when a disaster strikes plans and communication can save a business or allow it to lag behind. Incidents such as the attacks on 9/11/01 or Hurricane Katrina shows us ways that we are prepared and how we can improve. With hurricane season upon us, even reviewing your former emergency plans can help. As I have always maintained, research makes perfect! This entry is dedicated to a plan for a small business in particular, but here are some websites that can help your research to detail your plan for your business:
- Know what type of emergencies/disasters can affect you; you can’t know how to prepare until you know what you’re preparing for. Crises can affect a person, community, industry or region.
- Although personal endeavors are important post-disaster, re-establishing a routine is the key to getting a business, and therefore finances, back in order. With today’s mobile technology, this is easier than ever but you have to take advantage of the tools available to you.
- Two-way communication is vital, and this can include newsletters, e-mails and even text messages. When phone towers are down and cell phones cannot be counted on, text messages seem to be most reliable form of communication. Make sure all of your cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses are up-to-date. You can also designate an out-of-town number so that employees and clients or vendors can communicate if they are forced to evacuate.
- Provide “Emergency Wallet Cards” for all employees and associates with phone numbers and steps for emergency communication.
- If any employees have disabilities, ask about what assistance is needed if any.
- Frequently review emergency drills and exercises.
- Assess what staff, equipment and materials are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. This can help save time (and money) and keep the finances coming in.
- Develop a COOP or Continuity of Operations Plan in case your building, plant or store is inaccessible.
- Plan for payroll continuity, which can work wonders when confusion runs amok.
- After reviewing your emergency plan, discuss procedures and individual responsibilities with staff and associates.
- Review your plan annually; with new employees or clients comes changes and updates should be mandatory.
- Keep copies of important records such as site maps, building plans, insurance policies, employee contact and identification information, bank account records, supplier and shipping contact lists, computer backups, emergency or law enforcement contact information and other priority documents in a waterproof, fireproof portable container. Store a second set of records at an off-site location.
Depending on the disaster, for example a fire, evacuation plans should be in place and practiced regularly. There are also lists of supplies such as gallons of water, batteries, battery-powered radio, flashlights and first aid-kits that should be available at all times. You can never know when disaster or tragedy will strike but being prepared now can save you from other emergencies later.