A natural disaster, burglary, digital data breach or fire can be disastrous for an unprepared business. But with the right prevention, disaster plan and reactionary method, your business can survive the storm, ride the unexpected waves, and even reopen before your competitors.
Disaster-proof your business with these steps, so that whether you run a cafe, mobile beauty business or start-up creative agency, you’ll weather any unexpected disasters.
Some businesses still need to operate with paper and print important documents (lawyers and real estate agents), but for many businesses, you become completely paperless.
Back-up all your important documents by scanning and storing a digital file somewhere safe.
Save your files to a cloud-based service. This will not only protect your information should a disaster happen (like spilling your latte on your laptop), but help you work remotely and collaborate with ease among your team. Try Dropbox, iCloud or Google Drive for easy-to-use clouds.
Back-up your data
Back-up your data and important documents on an external hard drive. You should do this regularly. I worked in an office where our laptops were stolen one night, but because we’d been backing up our files regularly, and worked from a cloud, we just needed our insurance to replace the computers – all our files were safe!
When you save your files to a physical device, keep it in a safe place that is either fire-proof or at a different location from your business.
Prepare your staff
If you’re in a fire or flood zone, make sure your staff know the procedure for escape; who to call, measures to take, like sandbagging the doors, and how to get out safely if needed.
Know your insurance policy
For some of us, the details of our insurance policy don’t make for very interesting reading. That is until you’ve found yourself bucketing water out of your store or trying to claim back the computers that were lost in a fire while arguing with an unhelpful customer service rep on the other end of the phone.
Know what your insurance covers and if it isn’t enough, do your research and find a better deal. The time invested in finding good insurance will be worth it.
Think about a generator
If you’re in an area prone to floods or fires or just general loss of electricity, you might want to consider a backup generator to keep your power on in an emergency. This could end up being your competitive advantage over other businesses if they’re unable to reopen while they wait for the power to come back on.
But make sure you know the power of your generator. A strong generator might shut down your equipment even if a storm doesn’t. If in doubt, ask an expert!
Save for a disaster
No-one likes to think about a disaster happening, but if you have some money put away to protect against the event, you’ll have some peace of mind.
It could take up to 30 days to get your business back up and running as usual. What costs will you incur in that time? Expenses, employee wages, cleaning and rebuying equipment? Insurance claims can take weeks, if not months, to come through, so having a little saved will help you get back on your feet a bit quicker.
No-one wants to imagine a disaster affecting their business, but if you plan ahead, you’ll have the right tools in place to deal with it effectively.