The best strategy for a small business dealing with natural disasters and other emergencies is over-preparation, redundancy and communication. Extensive protocols, created well before the stress of an emergency situation, will prove invaluable to a small business displaced by crime, fire, flood or other natural disasters. Waiting until an event occurs (or is just about to) is way too late.
A well-run business is organized by a series of separate but collaborative directives: Business Plan, Organizational Chart, Revenue Model, Marketing Strategy and Crisis Management Protocols. Too often, the crisis management protocols are only focused on immediate needs such as safety plans, lockdown/evacuation and first responder coordination. Well-written crisis management protocols also contain systems for MAKING GOOD DECISIONS in internal communications, media relations and reputation management. These protocols keep an organization viable while a crisis occurs and in the immediate time frame after. Where business leaders often fail is waiting to “see how bad the damage is” before making recovery plans. This mistake can be catastrophic.
Planning recovery is just as essential as planning emergency response. When a situation is chaotic, there is no time for backing up files, moving hard copies off-site or locking down access to your bank accounts and credit cards. Access to tax records, insurance and bank deposits can stop your business dead in its tracks. Without a redundancy plan in place, what’s lost in a disaster is gone forever.
In today’s business world, data is as valuable as currency. Losing the information that helps guide your business can have a hugely negative effect on your organization’s ability to rebuild. Exposing your customers, employees and vendors’ private information to the outside world can ruin more than just your business. Having recoverable off-site data and hard copy backups with security protocols in place before you need them will save you time, cost and potential liability. Having a plan in place makes protecting and replacing what is lost to a fire, flood or theft is not just possible, but easy to manage.
Your preparation, planning and redundancy are worthless unless business leaders, key employees and responsible parties understand their roles in the emergency response process. Communication and training make a plan actionable. Regular training and access to protocols will ensure your team knows what to do when the time comes. When everyone plays their role, the outcome is secure.
Want to understand why protocols are better than plans? We have a variety of podcast episodes addressing Crisis Management protocols and execution. Click here to listen.
Just like insurance and security personnel, you need to have well-developed emergency response and recovery protocols in place with the hopes of never needing them. But if you do, the time and effort spent will repay itself many times over. Your emergency response protocols and preparation may even save your business after the fire is put out or the storm has passed.
We create all types of plans for businesses and non-profits on a regular basis. Business and marketing plans are utilized on a daily basis and help organizations be successful. But, nothing has a single bigger impact on an organization than crisis management and emergency response protocols. These types of situations occur 100% outside your control. You cannot wait to act. Having protocols and planning in place makes it possible to keep bad situations from becoming devastating. Preparation, communication, training and implementation will get your business through emergency situations.