Business Planning

Disasters generally happen without warning. How quickly your company gets back to business after an equipment failure, operator error, power outage or other misfortune can depend on emergency planning BEFORE disaster strikes!  

Ten steps you can take to protect your business:   

  1. Create a team to gather information from all company perspectives as well as outside sources to prepare a disaster prevention and recovery plan. Sole proprietors, coaches, and consultants should seek help from friends and associates in viewing their business operations from all points of view.

  2. Conduct a complete inventory of all equipment, furnishings and supplies. Include still photos and/or videotape of all areas.

  3. Move equipment, documents, supplies and inventory away from doors, windows and areas subject to flooding. Protect industrial or production equipment, office machines, computers and accessories from debris, moisture and power fluctuations. Install surge suppressors and uninterruptible power sources. Use covers to protect from water leaks.

  4. Identify records that are vital to your business operation and store copies offsite. Implement a standard records management program for handling electronic files and paper documents along with a computer data backup system.

  5. Establish offsite storage and alternate location policies for original documents, vital records and critical electronic files as well as  an alternate or emergency location from which you can perform critical business functions. Make sure all staff understand these policies and their individual responsibilities during and after a disaster.

  6. Develop, test and revise your disaster plan, keeping accurate and detailed notes. Revise your plan based on test results and notes, then test your revised plan.

  7. Seek legal counsel on contracts and agreements. Don't try to go it alone!

  8. Meet with your agent, consultant or advisor, and determine your insurance needs. Make sure you understand types of coverage, coverage limits, exclusions and deductible amounts. If your business is located in a 100-year flood plain or the area has ever flooded, you need to purchase a flood insurance policy.

  9. Prepare for business interruptions and disasters BEFORE they occur to understand your needs and responsibilities. Arrange first-aid and CPR classes through local emergency officials. Develop and maintain offsite storage policies, office operating procedures and computer backup schedules and procedures. Consider forming a Community Emergency Response Team to take care of your business and those nearby in case of isolation during a disaster.

  10. Prepare your workplace for disaster. Collect and remove trash, rubbish and debris inside and outside. Clean roof, gutters, downspouts and drainage ditches. Look for potential security, fire and electrical wiring hazards. Develop an orderly evacuation procedure that takes into account those with disabilities. Establish primary and secondary evacuation routes from your facility. Identify the safest locations in your business to protect employees and customers in a tornado strike, then mark the spots.