How would your business survive if you had to shut down for a day or two? What if a fire destroyed your building, including your computers and records? A business continuity plan should include contingency planning for both short-term and long-term disruptions. Here are some tips to help you get started.
- Develop a staff succession plan if essential personnel become injured or unavailable.
- Arrange for off-site storage of important records and information, including employee and payroll records, customer accounts and bank and insurance records.
- Back up computer files regularly, and arrange to have data stored off-site.
- Research potential locations from which you can operate on a temporary basis.
- Consider a back-up power source such as a portable generator. Install UPS devices on critical computer workstations.
- Review your insurance policies and estimate what it will take to restore your business - supplies, equipment, work space, people. Verify what is covered and not covered.
- Develop a plan for salvaging equipment or inventory.
- Make a photographic record of your business assets.
- Develop a list of people who have keys, codes and access passwords to bank accounts, high security areas, databases and systems.
- Plan to maintain contact with customers, suppliers and investors.
- Inform employees of your plans, and let them know what will happen and where you will relocate if necessary.
- Review your plan on a regular basis and update it as your business changes.
- Schedule regular drills and training.
- Learn first aid and CPR and provide training for your employees.
- Encourage your employees to develop household emergency plans.
Other Resources to Help You Prepare
American Red Cross www.redcross.org
Offers emergency preparedness information, training and services.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) www.fema.gov
Offers information and training, financial assistance.
National Safety Council www.nsc.org
Offers safety and related information.
Business continuity planning information, brochures and sample plans. Also offers an emergency preparedness guide for individuals.
A portal with links to other government agencies and disaster assistance web sites.
Department of Homeland Security www.dhs.gov
National site with information on threats, links to other resources
Small Business Administration www.sba.gov
Offers training, recovery assistance, disaster fact sheets
Institute for Business and Home Safety www.ibhs.org
Offers online publications to help you prepare for all types of disasters, articles and links to other resources