Every year businesses are forced to close due to the impacts of disaster. Research from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) tells us that the top four threats to business suffering the impact of disaster are:
- Power Loss
- Loss of Sales and Customers
- Length of Recovery
- Uninsured Loss
How can businesses protect themselves against these impacts? Planning for them is, of course, the easy answer. Just like governments, though, wouldn’t it make the most sense for a business to have an emergency preparedness program in place?
Consider that small business owners invest a great deal of time, energy, and funding to build and grow their business. As an independent consultant I can be working on a variety of things on any given day including project management, marketing, and accounting. Small business owners that deal with products (vs services) often times have even more to deal with including inventory, vendors, and distributors. The foundation of these entrepreneurial efforts is often times the business plan. Aspiring business owners put a lot of effort into creating this plan which describes what the business will do, what the market capacity is, what the competition looks like, and even trying to forecast revenues for several years. A successful business may continue elements of this business plan years later through a strategic plan intended to guide growth and company-wide efforts. Doesn’t it make sense that if we put so much effort into building and growing our businesses that we put some effort into ensuring that our businesses will survive a disaster?
As a society we generally like plans. They are an organized tome capturing our assumptions, ideas, and strategies to accomplish something. Plans are good and certainly help us through a great deal. A disaster plan, though, is not a disaster program. The plan may embody our program, helping to guide and inform our decisions in the event of a disaster, but our preparedness efforts must stretch beyond a plan if we are to be successful. Consider DHS’ POETE capability elements – Planning, Training, Organizing, Equipping, Training, and Exercising. With these elements in your head scroll back up to those top four threats from the NFIB and give them a moment of thought. You probably now have some additional ideas as to how you can address and prevent each of those with activity which may go beyond planning.
This recent article from Small Business Trends (which provided my initial inspiration for this blog post) provides a good outline of initial considerations for every business relative to disaster preparedness.
What does your business do to be better prepared?
© 2014 Timothy Riecker