Recently in the Tulsa area here in Oklahoma we experienced widespread severe storms. While none of the storms produced tornados or hail damage, we did have a lot of wind damage, and power outages that affected many businesses around town. I spoke with a principal at one business, and she told me that not only did the storm knock out their power and Internet, but it fried all of their computer equipment, too. Oklahoma is not immune from natural disasters, and if you have a small business, even a power outage like many recently experienced can be difficult to recover from on a lot of levels. In light of this serious issue, in today's Freedom Friday blog and email newsletter, I want to talk about the topic of business continuity, and answer the often-unanswered question, “How can I create business continuity for my small business?”
Any business, large or small, needs to develop a business continuity plan. In today's Freedom Friday and email newsletter, I want to share three steps to develop a business continuity plan:
Identify Key Personnel, Processes, and Services
The first step to develop a business continuity plan for your small business is to identify key personnel, processes, and services which are needed for your small business to maintain its minimal continued operation. What must you do to keep the business running? You also must determine which of your support services may be impacted and for how long. You need to assess your supply lines to see if there are any gaps in getting essentials. If you have staff or employees, you need to determine their availability during an emergency and maintain their contact information. You also need to keep a list of contact information for outside entities which are critical to your operations, including your bank, your attorney, and your accountant or tax professional.
Review Your Business Insurance Coverage
The second step to develop a business continuity plan for your small business is to review your business insurance coverage. How much coverage do you have on your small business, if any, at all? What are your deductibles, and will you be able to pay them? What are the limits to your coverage? If you need flood insurance, it usually has to be purchased separately from a general commercial insurance policy. Do you have any eligibility for government aid and/or loans to assist your recovery, if needed? Check with your insurance carrier, if you have one, to learn if you have adequate coverage for your small business, especially if you've made changes to the structure of your building or added new features.
Back Up Your Data
The third step to develop a business continuity plan for your small business is to back up your data. Whether you face a disaster or not, you need to back up your contact data, documentation, and data backups, either in an off-site location, or better yet “in the cloud”. Your IT manager or web-based service vendor should back up your data regularly. If your infrastructure is entirely “in the cloud,” which is extremely common, especially for online or remote small businesses, you need to understand how your cloud vendor handles emergencies and disasters on their end, and how your data will be kept safe and available at all times.
Thinking about starting a small business? Or maybe your small business is having issues with contracts, leases, business partners, collection issues, or experiencing other barriers to growth? Please contact me at [email protected] to schedule a FREE strategy session.
For more information about Liberty Legal Solutions, LLC, please visit our website at http://www.libertylegalok.com/