7 Ways to Plan Ahead For Potential Business Disasters

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Things can be going great for your business, and then overnight, it all changes. Disaster strikes, and suddenly you can’t operate your business anymore.

Many businesses have to close their doors after a disaster because they weren’t prepared. That doesn’t have to be you.

Plan ahead for potential business disasters with these seven tips and you can recover and come back stronger than ever.

Have a Disaster Recovery Plan

Having a disaster recovery plan in place means you know exactly what steps to take after a disaster. It also means outlining what you need to do for various disasters, so knowing what kinds of disasters can befall your business is important.

Top global disaster risks that require a disaster recovery plan include:

  • Extreme weather events
  • Natural disasters
  • Large-scale environmental damage incidents
  • Cybercrime
  • Cyber insecurity

Once you have a plan in place for each of these disasters, you need to test it. That way you know it works should the unthinkable happen.

Back Up Your Backups

Cybercrime and cyber insecurity can leave your data vulnerable to hackers, but a natural disaster can be just as devastating to your files. Physical files can be ruined during a hurricane or a tornado, while flooding can irreparably damage storage devices, like hard drives and thumb drives.

Make sure you have a data backup and recovery plan that includes backups for your backups, with versions of your most important data automatically stored on the cloud. That way, a natural or man-made disaster doesn’t leave you without your most important information.

Keep Meticulous Records

Not only do you have to make sure you backup your files, you also have to know what kind of records to back up in the first place.

Small business record keeping includes the obvious, like receipts for tax purposes and keeping track of payroll information in a designated software platform. It should also include things like photos of valuables, like office equipment, and disaster-loss workbooks that catalogue covered items so filing a claim with your insurance company is easier if disaster strikes.

Know Your Insurance Policies

When was the last time you looked over your insurance policies?

If it has been at least a year, they could use another look.

It’s important to know your insurance policies inside and out. You have to know what’s covered, what’s not covered, and what types of insurance your business needs and doesn’t need.

Some types of business insurance you may want to consider include:

  • General liability insurance
  • Commercial property insurance
  • Business income insurance
  • Cybersecurity liability insurance

Get to know your insurance agent and you can work together to make sure your business is covered appropriately.

Create a Communications Plan

Communicating with customers, suppliers, and employees can be extremely difficult if the power goes out after a natural disaster or your systems are compromised due to a cybersecurity issue. It’s important to have a communication plan in place so you know exactly how to get ahold of everyone.

That may include a plan for telecommuting, if employees aren’t able to return to the office. That way, your business doesn’t have to shut down completely because of an emergency.

Maintain a Slush Fund

Many businesses go under after a disaster because they don’t have enough saved to cover the cost of operating when they aren’t making any money.

You can avoid having to shut your doors if you have at slush fund that contains enough money to cover at least six months of business expenses.

Save as much as you can, even if you can’t reach that six-month milestone. Having some money you can fall back on is better than having no money at all.

Develop Business Relationships

We all lean on each other in times of need. That’s true for our families, but it is also true in business. 

Get to know the owners of other businesses in your area, and especially those in your industry. You never know how you may be able to help each other in an emergency situation.

It also means developing relationships with different suppliers, manufacturers, and other professionals. That way, if one of the people you rely on is no longer able to provide you with their services, you have a network of others in their industry to reach out to.

None of us know what kind of disaster could be lurking around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. By planning ahead for what could happen, your business can overcome challenges and remain in business for many years to come.