We are living in the midst of uncertainty right now. If anything, this year has made that perfectly clear. So as a business owner, you have to take into account anything that could become an obstacle in your path to success. Already in this year we have had to struggle through a pandemic that appeared so quickly that most small businesses were not properly prepared. As we get closer to “normalcy” don’t forget the lessons we’ve learned in regards to business thus far. Create a plan to navigate disasters, whether they are hurricanes, earthquakes or pandemics. Follow the 3 Step Plan below for guidance:
Step 1: Identify the Risk
Let’s take a moment to think about any “disaster” that could affect your business. Let’s see, we have; hurricanes, winter weather, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, floods, and pandemics – to name the basics. What is most likely to happen in your area, or has happened within the last year? Do you have a central location, or are you spread about nationally or globally? That is the place to start. Depending on the crisis, it may take different steps to prepare, but most everything will have the same foundation.
Step 2: Create Your Plan
The first step is to designate a “POC” (Point of Contact) for your disaster plan. As the boss, this should not be you, it needs to be delegated. Your involvement is important, obviously, but as a business owner you are the project manager of them all. When it comes to disaster preparedness plans, if it were all on your shoulders along with everything else you have your hands in, it would deter from the focus you need to execute the plan. Choose a reliable team member that has steady focus in times of stress.
Collaborate with them on what is important to include, but let them develop the plan. Ask questions; Does the plan coordinator need a supporting committee? Do you ship hundreds of packages a day? Do you need a list of vendors to contact in case of an emergency? Do you have the proper communication tree for your team, clients and vendors? Think about all your processes and make sure to plot out the vital aspects to consider.
Remember that the goal of a disaster plan is to help ensure the well-being of your employees, the stability of your location’s environment and, last but certainly not least, that you can keep your business running.
At its simplest form, the plan should address:
- An evacuation policy, including maps and routes
- Who employees should contact, inside and outside the company, for additional information about what to do
- Who is required to stay on site to perform essential functions or shut down important items
- Who is responsible for rescue and medical duties
- Employee emergency contact information, plus information about unique medical needs.
- Special instructions regarding hazardous materials and equipment, if necessary
Step 3: Implement and Train
Transparency and communication are key. Your team needs to know what to expect before any disaster occurs. This will minimize the amount of stress, anxiety and confusion at the time a crisis hits. Let’s just use the first half of 2020 as a fantastic example. How has the crisis affected your business? How did you respond? How did your team feel, react, etc. This will serve as a learning guide of what worked and what didn’t. Learn from that and use it to develop your plan and reinforce the importance of training to your team.
Create a guide or package for your team to use as a reference for important information regarding the disaster policy. Hold regular meetings (once a quarter) and be open to any feedback that their perspective can offer. Remember that an important reason for this disaster policy is to provide a safe and secure environment both physically and mentally for your team. Their perspective is vital.
Start Dreaming Your Next Business Move
Maybe you haven’t started a business just yet, but you are taking all the steps to build on a firm foundation. Congratulations! We love to be a resource for small business owners, and pass on the knowledge we have in the business world. In these uncertain times, many people are starting over or starting a new business for the first time. If that is you, we are here for you. We work with small business owners to improve their financial face to the lenders and assist in getting you the most funds that are available to you.
Thinking of Starting a Remote Business?
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