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Best 5 Way to Help Your Business Survive a Disaster

Is your business ready for disaster?

This is a timely issue, taking into account the Mississippi River along the state and the huge floods since the holiday disaster. Recovery, relocation and reconstruction efforts will last several months and will cost billions of dollars. Many businesses, large and small, are victims.

Natural disasters can occur anywhere at any time. They often arrive with little or no warning. They come in many forms - blizzards, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes, floods, droughts, extreme temperatures, and so on. Let us not forget terrorism.

So, this is not a big disaster whether the problem will occur, but when.

                                                                           CREDIT: Getty Images

Unfortunately, many business owners do not seem to care. According to a survey of 500 business owners conducted by Harris Interactive for Nationwide Insurance in June 2015, only one in four employees with 300 employees had a disaster preparedness plan .

Of those with 50 or fewer employees, only 18% - less than 1 in 5 - indicate that they have such a plan. Worse, 38 percent said they did not believe that having a plan was important (even if most people had an evacuation plan at home). Almost half (44%) said they did not use emergency generators. 66% No business interruption insurance.

So, it is worth asking again: Is your company ready for disaster?

Mine must be. We did a list of 500 companies three times, which is what the largest and best small companies do. We have developed an agreement for a major storm, an evacuation plan, staff trained to implement it, external redundant computer systems so that we can operate, even if our headquarters and operations centers are down, we have an appropriate insurance coverage.

Many of our offices were affected when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012, and many of our customers, particularly those in New Jersey and New York, were also affected. While some of our offices do not have power for a few weeks, our consultants and their team can stay connected from home or in remote places, so we can continue to serve our customers when they most need us. Even if the members of our team do not have the power to themselves, a few suffer serious damage to their homes, and everyone's work is still done. At the same time, our Virginia headquarters maintain close contact to ensure that these people are safe and help provide emergency supplies to the most critical areas of the community center. This is what the disaster management plan will do for you.

If you want to develop such a plan, the way you should take will depend on your industry, your company's size, your geographic service area and other factors, but here are five basic criteria:

1. Assess the risks to your business and your employees. Consider the possibility of natural and man-made hazards. You can do a basic assessment internally, or a consultant can provide you with a broader assessment. First consider what type of disaster is most likely - it could be a tornado or a hurricane, but may not be both, based on your geographic area. Also consider whether your work exposes you or your workers to biological or chemical hazards.

2. List your most important needs and check each item while protecting them. Your list may include evacuation routes, off-site location for staff, emergency contact information for all employees, emergency supplies storage, and external data backup.

3. Train your staff. Employees need to know who is responsible for what the task is, the best way to protect themselves in every situation, the best way to exit, and where to contact and contact when there is serious damage. Consider appointing several persons to serve as emergency coordinators. Practice occasionally.

4. Maintain the basic file security. Records and intellectual property should be stored in water, fire and explosion-proof containers. If it can make it easy to access, so you can carry it with you away from the building and everything is better.

5. Insurance. Talk to an insurance expert to ensure you have the right coverage - flood and earthquake insurance, key person coverage, and business continuity insurance - to help your business recover as quickly as possible. According to the National Flood Insurance Plan, at least 25% of businesses that have closed down after the floods have never been reopened.

Do not wait to rain down to buy an umbrella. Procrastination can kill your company. Learn about businesses that are similar to your business and read the recommendations provided by, the Small Business Administration website.

Without a viable plan, you may suffer more than just losing some income. You may never recover.

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