Salem (OR) Statesman Journal,
Is Your Company Prepared For A Disaster?
June 27, 2010
This is the time of the year when we hear about manmade or natural disasters. So business owners need to create a strong disaster preparedness plan.
Such a plan will help protect both owners and employees while ensuring that a business can bounce back as quickly as possible after a disaster strikes.
In 2007 and 2008, residents of Vernonia were affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides. Since that time, the city of Vernonia has been working diligently to help their citizens with disaster preparedness.
The fact is that a manmade or natural disaster could strike any business at any time. A recent survey by Agility Recovery Solutions shows that about75 percent of small business owners had a plan to get employees back to work in the days after a business interruption. About 28 percent said they had access to alternative office space.
America’s small business community needs to find new ways to prepare for whatever might come our way. Here are some low-cost steps that small business owners should take.
-Calculate how much money you might need in reserve if you had to shut down for a day or longer.
-Develop, distribute and maintain an emergency contact list that includes all your employees, local emergency responders and utility companies.
-Brainstorm a list of tough questions such as “What’s the biggest disaster risk in my neighborhood or my region?” and “How would I contact my staff if wireless service is down?”
For a small business, closing for just one day can often mean huge financial losses. Last year alone, the SBA approved more than 3,300 business disaster loans totaling $372 million.
We’re proud to meet our mission of providing this assistance to business owners, especially when we know that they’ve followed a disaster preparedness plan that has positioned them to rebound, rebuild and start contributing to their local economy once again.
Bouncing back from a disaster can be much easier if small business owners take more proactive steps to protect key assets and maintain continuity of operations as much as possible, including:
-Having a disaster communications plan, including a designated spokesperson who can keep customers informed about the status of business operations and plans for reopening.
-Contacting your insurance company to find if you’re covered for various kinds of disasters.
To help small businesses with their preparedness planning, SBA has teamed up with Agility Recovery Solutions to create an online continuity planning workshop called “Prepare My Business” (www.preparemybusiness.org).
Small business owners can access helpful tools, such as this month’s webinar, “10 Steps to Business Preparedness.” Other helpful sites include www.sba.gov/disasterassistance or www.ready.gov.