Resiliency Planning a Key for Business Success

Whether it’s Atlantic hurricane season or a forecast for a hard freeze, business owners should take the time to plan for disasters and ensure their operations are resilient. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a variety of informational and educational tools to help companies plan ahead before the worst happens.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, about 25% of businesses do not reopen after disasters. Some businesses can cope with adversity better than others – they are less disrupted by an event, resume operations sooner, recover faster and adjust for the future based on their experience. These businesses are described as resilient.

For a small business, being resilient involves understanding risks, planning for them, identifying employee needs and responsibilities, and ensuring back-ups and redundancies are in place. The SBA offers business owners a guide that can help small businesses determine how to anticipate the impacts of a disaster on operations so disruptions can be minimized.

“The disasters you plan for may be an immediate threat, like a hurricane or unseasonably cold weather, or plans may arise out of caution, in anticipation of a pandemic or an earthquake,” the SBA said. “Thinking about how these risks would disrupt your operations and planning for them will enable you to rebound quicker and avoid a recurrence.”

The following are steps the SBA recommends business owners can take to be resilient:.

Vulnerability Assessment

“Depending on a range of factors, such as your location or type of business, you might face different kinds of risk. Identifying these risks and prioritizing them can help you prepare effectively and minimize the extent to which you are vulnerable,” the agency said. “Think about threats that could impact your ability to do business, and how you might reduce their impact. Having insight into past weather-related events in your area and how local government responded can help inform your determination of potential exposure.”

Preparing Employees

Employees are one of a business’ most critical resources. Ensuring they understand what to do in an emergency is important to both their well-being and the ability of a business to survive disruption. Having a call-down list or a group text to ensure employees are safe when a disaster is expected can help with business continuity.

“Clarifying everyone’s role and training them in the protocols that should be followed before, during and after a disaster, can provide them with the information they need to react appropriately should your business be impacted,” the SBA said. “Consider assigning a key person as a back-up to help manage the business if the owner cannot be present after the disaster.”

Reviewing Finances

Keep your business records updated and think about what steps your business will have to take when it closes temporarily. “Preparing your business financially now so it is ready to respond, recover and continue operating when a business disruption occurs is just as critical as knowing exactly what to do when disaster strikes,” the SBA said.

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration