5 Tips for Creating a Business Continuity Plan for Your Small Business
Is your business prepared for any disaster? Even though small businesses may not have as many employees or as much equipment, they are still vulnerable to disaster as a large corporation. If a tornado destroyed your business office, you could lose valuable business if you don’t plan. Many companies don’t want to take the time and the expense to prepare a business continuity plan, but can you afford not to make one?
1) Make a List of All Possible Disasters
The best place to start is to list different types of disasters and determine what you could lose in each case, and what you can do to prevent that loss. A flood will require different strategies from a power outage or a fire. Next, try to estimate how long it would take and how much it would cost you to get your business up and running again.
2) Share Emergency Contact Methods
The middle of a crisis is not the time to frantically search for phone numbers. Even small businesses need emergency contact numbers. Have all emergency contact numbers posted or programmed into every phone. Do you have an alternate mode of communication should your main phone lines shut down? Could your clients seamlessly contact you without ever knowing that your office was in the middle of disaster recovery? The same principle applies to email and fax. Making arrangements regarding communication are critical to keeping your business running smoothly. Communicating with staff and clients can mean the difference between a complete shutdown or minimal business interruption.
3) Preserve Your Data
In the event of a disaster, it is essential to know that everything you need to function as a business is available. Identify all vital systems, documents, and data. While it is crucial for every business to back up their data regularly, what if a fire destroyed your office? For this reason, offsite storage is critical to preserving your business’ valuable information. Offsite data storage allows you access to all of your stored data remotely.
4) Create a Temporary Worksite
It is also essential to plan for a temporary worksite. Depending on the goods or services your business offers, can you continue smooth operation if your office shuts down? Storing products in a second location can allow you to maintain your regular business schedule.
5) Test Your Plan
One of the keys to successful disaster recovery is testing your business continuity plan periodically. You and your staff must know what to do, where to go, and how to access the necessary items you need to keep your business running smoothly. Schedule regular plan tests to ensure that everyone in your office is on the same page and ready should disaster strike. Hopefully, you will never have to use your business continuity plan, but it is a smart strategy to prepare for any emergency should one arise.
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