Can you honestly say that your startup is ready for anything? You can have a razor sharp business plan that you think will guarantee your success – but nothing is certain. You have to take into account that there will be many disruptions to your operations. It could be a fire or a natural disaster. It could be a significant amount of downtime during a critical sales period. Or it could be something as simple as your employees all being ill at the same time.
If you aren’t prepared for potential disasters, you are in good company. Three-quarters of all small business owners do not account for emergencies or have a plan in place to deal with them. The trouble is, the chances of disaster have never been greater. Severe weather events are on the rise. Hacking and cyber crime is also on the increase – and could kill your business stone dead. And it has never been as important to establish a plan for emergencies than it is today.
In today’s guide, we’re going to go through a few things you need to consider if you want to protect yourself. Taking precautions and limiting risk are two of the most important things you can do as a startup. So, go against the grain, and be more proactive. Not only will you have more guarantees of a stable future, but you’ll also have an advantage over your competitors.
99% of businesses in the country rely on technology in some way. And all that technology equipment needs power. It makes sense, then, to establish a plan for working when there is no electricity. Invest in a generator – even something small can help you stay afloat if you can organize your business from a mobile device. You can buy generators, or rent them, and they are an excellent solution for when the mains power goes offline for several days.
One of the first things you must do when disaster strikes is to let people know. Failure to do so will cause you a lot of problems, from disgruntled clients to unproductive workers. If you have a lot of people to notify, things can be a little tricky unless you have a system in place that allows you to communicate on a mass scale. But what is a Mass Communication System, and how can it help? In simple terms, it is a system that helps you connect to any audience quickly and inform them of critical information. You could use it to warn them of everything from closures to cancellations. Speed is of the essence when dealing with emergencies. And, the system you rely on will have a significant impact on your ability to coordinate a disaster.
Will your data be safe in the event of a breach or disaster? It is vital to invest in a few key things to protect your customer and business information. First of all, backup is essential. When your system goes down, you have to have a reliable system in place that will allow you to carry on working. You should also invest in encryption so that any hacker that breaks into your system will have problems using your data.
Does everyone in your startup know how to react in the event of an emergency? Is there a chain of command, and an emergency team in place who are trained to respond? Don’t underestimate how important it is to establish a team, long before disaster strikes. In an emergency, people won’t know what to do without practice runs and walkthroughs. There will be an element of chaos, which you just can’t afford. You need a robust structure in place with a reliable and trustworthy team to cover all critical activities.
Finally, keep your emergency plan nice and straightforward. You can’t overcomplicate things, or no one will know or understand what they need to do. If you create a 500-page book on how to deal with emergencies, the simple fact is no one will read it. It’s also important to understand the critical aspects of your business – the core tasks that will keep it going. Focus on these functions first and foremost, and you should be able to ride out any storm.
Do you have any experience of dealing with business disasters? If so, how did you deal with them, or what lessons did you learn? Let us know about them in the comments section below.