Five Ways to Safeguard Your Business Before Disaster Strikes
|March 6, 2014
The recent polar vortex that ripped across the country leaving many areas without power was a great reminder of the importance of having a disaster preparedness plan in place to protect your employees, your business and your customers.
Being prepared to manage disaster recovery can greatly minimize business disruption. The third pillar of “ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” encourages title professionals to have a disaster management plan in place to help protect non-public personal information (NPI).
According to the Small Business Association, here are five things you can do now to develop a business continuity plan:
- Determine your greatest risk potential. It might come from wind damage or the inland flooding that typically follows the tropical storm’s heavy rains. Meanwhile, your business could suffer financial losses due to road and bridge closings in the aftermath of a hurricane. Power outages are a major threat, especially to businesses in the food and hospitality industries. What would happen if you had to shut down your business for several days? Look at the building where you do business—inside and out—and assess the risks. If you do this early enough, you’ll have time to do structural upgrades—like impact resistant doors and windows—that can prevent possible future storm damage.
- Calculate the cost of business interruptions for one week, one month and six months. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able investigate insurance options or build a cash reserve that will allow your company to function during the post-disaster recovery phase. It’s also a good idea to develop professional relationships with alternative vendors, in case your primary contractor can’t service your needs. Place occasional orders with them so they regard you as an active customer.
- Review your insurance coverage. Contact your agent to find out if your policy is adequate for your needs. Consult with a business insurance expert to advise you on the right coverage for your situation. When buying insurance, ask “How much can I afford to lose?” It’s a good idea to know the value of your property. You also may want to look into flood insurance. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, floods are the leading cause of natural disaster losses. Most property insurance policies don’t cover basement flooding.
- Build a crisis communications plan so you’ll be able to make sure your employees, customers, vendors, and contractors know what’s going on. Establish an email alert system. Make sure you have primary and secondary email addresses for your employees and everyone you do business with. Create a Facebook page and use Twitter to let the community know you’re still in business and in the process of recovering after the disaster.
- Consider a Telework Policy. Prepare for the possibility that employees won’t be able to get to work by developing an emergency telework policy.