Every small business that succeeds does so at least in part as a result of the strategies employed by its owner in a bid to fulfil their personal vision of the future, but few such owners spend any time working on plans to help them deal with unexpected emergencies.
Small enterprises are far more vulnerable to such events and failing to make proper provision for any kind of disaster scenario, whether a data breach or hurricane, means you risk being caught off guard. Not having a suitable plan in place will also make it far more difficult for you to get your business back on track should the worst-case scenario come to pass.
Select your team
The first step is to set up a planning team composed of employees from across the company chosen for their in-depth knowledge of specific areas of the business. Such a team should include those from IT, telecommunications, logistics and customer service divisions and should be capable of running the business from a temporary location if necessary.
It’s a good idea to spend some time brainstorming with key members of your team to discuss how your enterprise can best respond to a wide range of events. As the response needed to deal with a fire is very different from that needed to deal with a data breach, you may need to have a number of plans in place.
Ready your responses
In the event of a natural disaster, the news agenda is unlikely to focus on your company alone, but in the case of a man-made disaster such as a data breach, you’ll be facing the music alone. In such scenarios, it is essential to make some sort of public statement as soon as possible. Waiting too long to respond to this sort of crisis means you lose control of the story as the media will simply seek out other sources of information. With stories spreading throughout the world almost instantly through social media, any kind of delay can ultimately prove fatal to your company’s financial future.
Cross-train for consistency
If you or one of your key employees is injured in an accident, the effect on your business could be devastating. Cross-training employees so they can take over each other’s roles, at least on a temporary basis, will prevent your business from grinding to a halt.
It is also worth ensuring you know in advance exactly which lawyers to call to deal with such incidents. At a firm such as Harrell & Harrell personal injury lawyers, for example, every case is reviewed by two or three lawyers to ensure it is being assessed not just from a physical point of view but also in terms of the potential financial losses and cost of rehabilitation. Preparing a list of specialists in advance to cover every likely scenario will allow you to respond far more effectively.
This kind of planning for disasters should include every aspect of your life. Though it may be unpleasant, it should include plans for what will happen to the company should you die. Ensure there is a provision for new ownership in your will.
Similarly, if you have started the company jointly with your wife, husband, or business partner ensure there are plans are in place for how the business could be divided up in the case of a split. In all such cases, the process of planning should start as early as possible.