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As the owner of a small business you are used to planning for the future when it comes to budgets, growth forecasts and the like. But have you taken the time to develop a plan in the event that a natural disaster or other emergency strikes?
Threats to your business can come in many forms, from weather-related disasters, to human-caused mayhem, to large-scale technology malfunctions. Events such as these, while relatively rare, can pose a very serious threat to the livelihood of small businesses. Yet an Ad Council survey found that 62% of respondents do not have an emergency plan in place for their business. It should not come as a surprise then, that according to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40% of businesses that are affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never reopen. Being prepared for these events can make the difference between surviving with your customers and reputation intact, versus incurring permanent damage to your business.
An emergency-preparedness plan should include both a set of policies to ensure that disruptions to your business are minimized if a catastrophe does strike, and a business continuity plan for getting up and running again as quickly as possible in the aftermath.
The specifics of your emergency plan will depend on the size, scope, and location of your business but at the very least it should include the following.
If you are looking for more help in crafting your disaster-preparedness plan, the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), the Red Cross, and your state and local government offices can all be excellent sources of information to help you plan for a day that will hopefully never come.
*Disclaimer*: Harvard Business Services, Inc. is neither a law firm nor an accounting firm and, even in cases where the author is an attorney, or a tax professional, nothing in this article constitutes legal or tax advice. This article provides general commentary on, and analysis of, the subject addressed. We strongly advise that you consult an attorney or tax professional to receive legal or tax guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. Any action taken or not taken based on this article is at your own risk. If an article cites or provides a link to third-party sources or websites, Harvard Business Services, Inc. is not responsible for and makes no representations regarding such source’s content or accuracy. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Harvard Business Services, Inc.