It’s imperative for every business in America to have a Business Continuity Plan in place. 75% of businesses without a Continuity Plan will fail, 40% of small businesses won’t reopen after a storm event, and 25% of businesses will close within one year. Startling facts! We certainly don’t want your business to be a statistic.
What Is A Business Continuity Plan?
A Business Continuity Plan provides the roadmap to enable operations before, during and after a disaster or major event. It’s a written assessment of how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating and how you will continue to operate.
A Business Continuity Plan includes risk mitigation and recovery protocols to deal with potential threats. This can involve a risk assessment, clearly defined employee roles, customer communication protocols, protocols for your data, computer network, server, IT, and infrastructure, and a clearly outlined plan in the event your business is affected by a major storm or weather event. Having a Business Continuity Plan in place helps provide a framework for your company to not only survive, but even thrive. A storm event is frustrating enough!
Your company insurance policy is there to cover financial ramifications from storm and weather events such as hail and wind storms, hurricanes and tornadoes, floods, fires and earthquakes, but insurance doesn’t protect your brand, reputation and market share as you navigate your way through the restoration phase.
Small businesses alone account for more than 99% of all companies with employees, employ 50% of all private sector workers and provide nearly 45% of the nation’s payroll. America’s businesses form the backbone of the nation’s economy. Per the SBA Office of Advocacy, a small business is defined as a firm with fewer than 500 employees. Business Continuity Planning is important for businesses of all sizes, but small businesses tend to skip this more often.
Business Continuity Planning: Get Started
1. Assess Your Risks
Begin your plan by assessing potential risks to your business and how they may impact your ability to deliver products and/or services. i.e. Are you located in an area prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, or flooding? How will your business survive in the event this happens?
2. Backup Essential Contacts
Create a list of your essential contact information including emails and phone numbers of your top customers, suppliers, vendors and staff. Ensure the list includes internet service providers, electrical and utility companies for all office locations. Don’t forget your insurance, financial and legal contacts. Be sure this is easily accessible by your core team and backed up on the cloud.
3. Define Employee Roles
Build your Business Continuity Planning team. Solicit feedback from the team to ensure everything is covered. Determine who will play what role in the event of a disaster. Be sure you have staff contact lists on hand with emails, phone numbers, and locations of all employees, and that these are also electronically distributed and saved in a secure location and/or backed up on the cloud. If you have remote workers located across the country, they may play a larger role in the event of a hurricane, for instance, as they will have access to electricity, the internet, etc. Create an org chart with clearly defined roles and discuss with the team in advance so everyone is prepared.
4. Backup Vendors/ Suppliers
Ensure that you have backup vendors and suppliers and technology companies to meet your business needs and product demand.
5. Technology Recovery Plan
Ensure that you have a plan in place for technology recovery. It’s important to back up your IT data consistently, i.e. daily. This could be a lifesaver when it’s really needed. Back up to a cloud, a separate server in the event yours goes down, and/or an off-site storage location. Make sure that essential personnel have the confidential sign in information and passwords.
6. Communication Plan
Have a clear communication plan for internal employees, staff, vendors, suppliers, and customers. This is a critical element throughout the recovery phase.
7. Product Inventory
Ensure that you have full documentation and photos of your equipment, products, supplies, etc. in the event you need this information for an insurance claim.
8. Company Policies: Storm Events & Evacuation Routes
Provide your staff and employees in hurricane or flood prone areas with their local evacuation plans and guidance. Help them be prepared.
9. KISS: Keep It Simple & Straightforward
Business Continuity Plans can get extremely complex, depending on how large your company is and/or how you structure this. The worst case scenario is over complicating it and never getting started on creating your plan. Remember, having a plan is the first step. This is meant to be used in the event of an emergency. Make sure it’s clear and concise for any employee to understand.
About Mitchell Adjusting International
Mitchell Adjusting International, LLC has over 25 years of experience providing expert Public Adjusting Services to businesses, commercial and corporate entities throughout the U.S. We specialize in large loss claims due to storms and events including hurricanes, tornados, wind, hail, water, flood, fire, and earthquakes. Risk assessment, planning and mitigation is essential for all businesses.