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Agility’s Preparedness Evaluation Helps Small Business Plan for Disaster

It's easy to believe the next big disaster will happen to someone else . / Credit: Disaster recovery plan image via Shutterstock

According to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40 percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster, and of those that do reopen, 25 percent fail within one year.

In an effort to help businesses better prepare for business disruption – be it a small system glitch or a large natural disaster – Agility Recoverydeveloped a Business Preparedness Evaluation to score businesses’ preparedness knowledge and protocols

Agility’s Business Preparedness Evaluation helps businesses assess how prepared they are for the next business disruption, and provides a score of their current preparedness practices along with tips and information on how they can better prepare their business for disasters and mitigate the risk of becoming part of the FEMA statistic.

Upon answering a series of questions, the tool produces an official preparedness score and showcases to business owners’, areas in preparedness with which they need to improve upon to better mitigate the many business disruptions that occur in everyday life. Below are some best practices that Agility Recovery encourages business owners to follow to best protect their businesses from disruption and disaster:

Do a risk assessment. What are potential threats to your business because of your immediate environment? Are you on the 10th story of a 20-story building, or are you in your own single-floor facility? Do your neighbors work with hazardous materials? Knowing your environment is the first step in helping prioritize the essential elements of your plan. 

Make a communications plan. Communication is key during a business disruption incident. Set up a notification system: reroute calls, establish a hotline, post updates on your website set up automated text messaging and email systems to keep people informed. Furthermore, encourage two-way communication tools like Facebook and Twitter to facilitate communication.

Do an assessment of your key partners and vendors. Do your vendors have a disaster plan in place? Who would be a backup to the important partners you work with? Establish an account with alternate suppliers of components that are vital to your product, just in case.

Make sure you have strategies for working in another facility. Identify in advance alternative office space should your group need to relocate. If your company doesn’t have a secondary facility, seek out a friend’s business or another group in your business association that you can share resources with.

Practice the plan. Spend some time running through different variations of how a disaster could play out. The objective is to identify holes in the practice phase to find out where your business needs improvements, and familiarize employees with the plan. Taking the time to work out kinks during a trial run better ensures operations will run more smoothly when a really disruption.

Jeanette Mulvey

Jeanette has been writing about business for more than 20 years. She has written about every kind of entrepreneur from hardware store owners to fashion designers. Previously she was a manager of internal communications for Home Depot. Her journalism career began in local newspapers. She has a degree in American Studies from Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter @jeanettebnd.