Lessons Learned from Hurricane Florence – The Importance of a Small Business Disaster Recovery Plan
No business, no matter its size or the industry it’s in, is immune to the risk of a disaster. Whether you're facing a storm, flood, fire, server failure, data breach, or some other disaster, your ability (or lack of) to recover quickly will affect your business's bottom line — and that of your employees, customers, vendors and suppliers.
FEMA estimates that nearly half of small businesses facing a disaster never reopen their doors. Knowing what to do in an emergency will help you spring into action so you can resume serving your customers and community.
Some of the key considerations include:
1. What events pose a disaster risk to your business and how likely is each of them to occur?
2. Who will be on your recovery team and what are their roles and responsibilities?
3. What impact would a disaster have on your business? (For example, lost revenue, additional expense, unhappy customers, etc.)
4. Where will you temporarily relocate your business as a result of the emergency?
5. How will you communicate (internally and externally) during a disaster? Do you have emergency contact info readily accessible and multiple methods of communication available?
6. What procedures should be followed if you experience an interruption in accessing the technological tools necessary for running your business? What team members and vendors will manage the technical recovery process?
7. What data will need to be available at your off-site emergency location?
8. What are the critical business functions within your company and how will you restore them?
9. Do you have adequate insurance coverage to cover you in a disaster? Can you easily access contact information for your insurance policies if your facility is inaccessible?
10. Do your vendors and suppliers have disaster recovery plans? Do you have backup vendors and suppliers you can depend on if yours are temporarily unable to serve you?
11. Have you communicated your disaster recovery plan with everyone within your organization and key business partners?
The above considerations are just a sampling of what you may need to address in an emergency. If you need assistance in making sure you cover all the bases, consider reaching out to SCORE at capefear.score.org for guidance and feedback. SCORE mentors have expertise and experience in all aspects of starting, running, and growing a small business. You can also find specific Hurricane Florence disaster recovery assistance at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.