In the Face of Disaster

Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, days of power outages – the news is filled with natural disasters and the results.  While the media usually keeps their focus on the individuals who have lost their homes and emergency services, businesses are also impacted in each of these situations.

Is your business ready to quickly recover from a disaster?  A recent Wall Street Journal article featured the recovery program of the Waffle House.  Yes, the Waffle House, home of hash browns throughout the South is prepared for disasters and can serve as a model for all small businesses.  You may not care about being able to serve eggs but the ability to be “back up and running” quickly after a disaster is a worthy goal for all businesses. 

What would you need to do business tomorrow?  Depending on the nature of your business, the answer may vary.  For many entrepreneurs, the answer is “my data”.  If that’s true for you, what steps have you taken to be sure you will be able to access your data tomorrow?

There are online backup services such as Carbonite which are widely available at modest costs which do automatic backups of your data and provide you with access to your files from anywhere.  That means if the power is out in the area of your office, you can still access your data from a computer in an internet cafe, on your notebook or even your smartphone.  Disasters that impact access to your data can be the result of weather, human error or even equipment failure.  Are you prepared to recover quickly?

What else do you need to do business?  Is there a reasonable measure you can take to insure you will have what you need when disaster strikes?  Spend some time discussing a disaster plan with your team.

Even if you never suffer a large scale natural disaster, over time you are likely to experience everything from power outages to a broken pipe type flood to a break in or vandalism.  Simple solutions such as clearly labeling the water shut-off valve and making sure all your team members know where to find it can save your business from a crippling disaster.

Take this opportunity to talk to your business insurance agent as well.  Get a rate quote on business interruption insurance.  Weigh the cost against the risks and decide if it’s right for your business.

Long term success in business has a lot to do with the ability to weather storms, both literal and figurative.   Be sure your business is ready.

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