August 4, 2020
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A Road Map for Success

Secure It

Owning a business can be a double-edged sword.

| 7/20/2020

There’s the upside, where you get to make the rules and reap the profits. And there’s the down side, where bad things happen outside of your control and you have to make them right. Are you up for the challenge? Read on:

Disaster Readiness and Recovery

Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere and often without much warning. The big ones — hurricanes, pandemics, a disgruntled employee with a gun — get the greatest attention. But the smaller ones can wreak havoc on a workplace too. Suppose you lose power for a day or two? Or the copy machine overheats and the breakroom fills with smoke? Or 25% of your employees call out on the same Monday morning because either they have the flu or their kids do? Any one of these scenarios has the potential to shut your business down.

Floridians are certainly no strangers to disaster. Although no one could have anticipated the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, anyone who has lived and worked in this state for any length of time has either experienced a hurricane or knows to expect one. And if the storm happens to be a Category 3 or above, the destruction can be catastrophic. History tells us that an estimated 25% of businesses affected by such an event never reopen at all.

Preparing for the Unexpected As a business owner, you may not be able to prevent disasters of this magnitude, but you can certainly mitigate their effects on your business by taking proactive steps in advance. Here’s a list of actions you can begin to take now:

Know the potential hazards you face. Hurricanes, floods, lightning strikes and sinkholes top the list of natural disasters in Florida; fire, toxic chemical spills, civil unrest, gun violence and terrorism are the most likely man-made kind. Even if your business is not directly affected by one or more of these, your supply chains and utilities may well be.

Create a contingency plan. What if the roof blows off your workplace or it’s leveled altogether? Could you operate out of a nearby warehouse? Office space? Your own home? Perhaps you could share space with a supplier. The time to choose an appropriate space and determine what equipment and other resources you will need to continue operations is now. Back up all computer files and store them off-site or on the cloud.

Protect your most valuable assets — the people you employ. Develop an evacuation plan that includes access to shelters, hospitals and other emergency services. Post emergency phone numbers in prominent places. Maintain up-to-date emergency contact and essential medical information for all employees.

Conduct a safety inventory. Regularly clean and test smoke detectors and fire alarms; change batteries at least once a year. Have first-aid kits on hand. Make sure all fire extinguishers are operational and fully charged. Keep a ready supply of all types of batteries used in your business. Consider purchasing a portable generator to provide emergency power.

Review your insurance coverage now. Do you have enough coverage to get your business back in operation at the earliest possible date? Does your policy cover the replacement cost of buildings, contents and essential facilities? Are you insured against wind, floods, business interruptions? If not, maybe you should be.

Pre-plan for repairs. Don’t wait until a storm has passed to start shopping for repairs; become a “preferred customer” now. Start building a network of reliable repair services and suppliers well before you need them to avoid being placed on a lengthy wait list when you do.

Create a “records-to-go” box.
Place important documents and supplies in a water- and fire-proof box you store in a secure, off-site location. Include things like: disaster recovery plans; emergency contact lists of employees, suppliers, vendors and key customers; insurance policies and agent information; backups of computer files; bank records; a list of the bills that regularly need to be paid; and emergency cash.

Tags: Florida Small Business, A Road Map for Success

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