With recent storms causing flooding and wildfires happening nationwide, it’s a very ideal time to implement or revisit the disaster recovery plan for your business.
A “disaster” can come in many forms, such as:

  • A fire, flood, hurricane, tornado or ice storm that damages, destroys or isolates your business’ premises.
  • A power surge that fries your computer systems and the intellectual property it contains.
  • A virulent computer virus.
  • A power failure that leaves a warehouse full of perishable goods susceptible to decay.
  • A business disaster, taking the form of a sudden bankruptcy of a major client or supplier, or a sudden and serious illness to a key team member who has irreplaceable knowledge.
  • The direct or indirect effects of a terrorist attack.

How quickly your company can get back to business after such events depend on emergency planning done today. All together, the odds of being affected by a disaster at some time in your business life are not insignificant. So you need to have an effective plan on how to recover from such a disaster. If you have no plan, it may take only one such event to put you out of business.

How to Prepare?

Homeland Security’s Ready.gov site offers many helpful tools for developing an effective disaster recovery plan, including these tips:

  1. Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
    • Review your business process flow chart if one exists.
    • Identify operations critical to survival and recovery.
    • Include emergency payroll, expedited financial decision-making and accounting systems to track and document costs in the event of a disaster.
    • Establish procedures for succession of management. Include at least one person who is not at the company headquarters, if applicable.
  2. Identify your suppliers, shippers, resources and other businesses you must interact with on a daily basis.
    • Develop professional relationships with more than one company to use in case your primary contractor cannot service your needs. A disaster that shuts down a key supplier can be devastating to your business.
    • Create a contact list for existing critical business contractors and others you plan to use in an emergency. Keep this list with other important documents on file, in your emergency supply kit and at an off-site location.
  3. Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not accessible. This type of planning is often referred to as a continuity of operations plan, or COOP, and includes all facets of your business.
    • Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from your home.
    • Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable.
  4. Plan for payroll continuity.
  5. Decide who should participate in putting together your emergency plan.
    • Include co-workers from all levels in planning and as active members of the emergency management team.
    • Consider a broad cross-section of people from throughout your organization, but focus on those with expertise vital to daily business functions. These will likely include people with technical skills as well as managers and executives.
  6. Define crisis management procedures and individual responsibilities in advance.
    • Make sure those involved know what they are supposed to do.
    • Train others in case you need back-up help.
  7. Coordinate with others.
    • Meet with other businesses in your building or industrial complex.
    • Talk with first responders, emergency managers, community organizations and utility providers.
    • Plan with your suppliers, shippers and others you regularly do business with.
    • Share your plans and encourage other businesses to set in motion their own continuity planning and offer to help others.
  8. Review your emergency plans annually. Just as your business changes over time, so do your preparedness needs. When you hire new employees or when there are changes in how your company functions, you should update your plans and inform your people.

How Can Doeren Mayhew Help?

Our Business Advisory Group offers support in disaster preparedness, including helping you evaluate needs, identifying risks and/or reviewing your current plan to ensure it is the best fit your business. For more information, contact our Business Advisory Group.