Guest post from Susan Wilson Solovic, who wrote “It’s Your Biz – The Complete Guide to Becoming Your Own Boss.” Susan is an award-winning entrepreneur, a journalist, bestselling author, multi-media personality, and attorney. She is also the CEO of SBTV.com, offering news, tips, and helpful insights to small businesses.
An earthquake and a hurricane in New York City -- in the same week! It seems every time I turn on the news, there is a natural disaster being reported somewhere across the country or around the world. The scenes of suffering and devastation can be heart-breaking and makes us think, “What if that happened to me?” It sure makes you realize how vulnerable we all are. Disaster can strike anytime, anywhere, demolishing our homes, ruining our businesses, and stealing friends and family members. Yet, very few of us take the necessary steps to be prepared for when a disaster hits.
Particularly, small businesses.
I’ve found that when there’s a natural disaster making headlines, small businesses get focused on learning more about disaster preparedness and managing their risk. Then, after things calm down and the headlines switch to other stories, entrepreneurs revert to business as usual. The sense of urgency to be prepared is gone.
What would you do if you faced a disaster? Are you prepared? Can your business still operate? Your business could be hit with something unexpected tomorrow that interferes with your ability to conduct business operations. It doesn’t have to be a major natural disaster, either. What if the sprinkler system goes off in your building or a major pipe breaks, destroying all electronic systems, customer files and inventory? Think about what you’d do if construction workers nearby cut water mains and electrical lines causing outages for several days. Could you conduct business the next day?
It is impossible to prevent a disaster from striking your company, but you can take action in advance to limit the impact your business sustains. Here are a few thoughts:
Make a List of Business Essentials. Determine which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep your business operating.
Create a Contact List. Make sure you have a list of your suppliers, customers, and other business resources located at an off-site location.
Maintain Document Storage. Keep duplicate files of all critical business documents at a separate location.
Review Your Insurance Coverage. Be sure it is up to date and covers all your assets.
Secure Emergency Supplies. Have a battery-operated radio and extra batteries, water, food, first-aid etc.
For more information and a helpful checklist, go to Ready.gov. It provides disaster preparedness information for your business and personal needs. But don’t procrastinate. Start your planning today.
Let me know how you’ve prepared your business.
Editor’s note: Susan’s book is coming out in October and she is giving Verizon’s Small Biz Blog readers an exclusive peek into the first few chapters. Be one of the first 15 to make a post below and also send your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org to get the first few chapters from It’s Your Biz – The Complete Guide to Becoming Your Own Boss. Once the book is out, we’ll mail you a copy.
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