Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 34 seconds

disaster plan graphic2Not only are disasters disastrous, they always seem to hit at the least convenient time. Whether a calamity is weather or water-related or technologically-linked, recovering from a catastrophe is time-consuming, energy sapping and emotionally draining. In addition to those costs, overcoming a disaster also hits squarely in the wallet, another reason why planning ahead could mean the difference between financial survival and financial ruin.



Despite the likelihood that catastrophes can spell the end of a company, few small businesses establish a disaster plan that could help it overcome the challenges wrought by them. According to Boston attorney Jared Correia, “Small business owners frequently put off disaster preparedness, because the only present disaster they have in view is the constant rush to new add clients. However, disaster preparedness is just as important for small business owners as for large businesses, and maybe even more important, because there is less room for error.”

Larger firms are often better equipped to recover from a disaster than their smaller counterparts, for several reasons. Among them is they enjoy the financial backing of stakeholders with knowledge of processes. In addition, more redundancies are likely in place in a large company than a small one, and that saves time and money.

One way to help a small business survive a disaster is for the company owner, either alone or with the assistance of employees, write down a proactive plan for preparedness. Once that’s done, it is imperative everyone in the company be familiar with their particular responsibilities should disaster strike so they don’t waste time acclimating themselves with their duties when time is likely of the essence.

“Writing down the plan will force the small business owner to take active steps to remedy shortfalls in their disaster preparedness plan, rather than taking an ad hoc approach to recovering the business, which is the last thing you want to do in the event of a disaster,” says Correia. Moreover, businesses of all sizes that maintain electronic documents should be certain they are supported by both a physical and online data backup system, in case one fails or is not accessible.

In addition, data backup systems should be monitored to ensure they are in good working order at all times. According to Correia, that means they should be continually tested to be sure they will be operational when disaster strikes. One way to check is to delete a dummy file then try to recover it. If the effort is successful when things are calm, it’s more likely you will be able to repeat the action when disaster strikes and you are stressed. This is especially important when considering the speed at which a small business needs to get up and running following a disaster.
While it is not possible to prevent all disasters from occurring, taking proactive steps prior to catastrophes will likely mitigate the losses a small business will suffer when the unforeseen happens. For further information about preparing for a disaster, consult the Small Business Administration.



Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and writer who tweets as @girlwithapen. Last modified on Tuesday, 04 October 2016
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