The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season kicks off on June 1st. This year’s season is predicted to be especially active according to scientists from Colorado State University. According to researchers, “Residents living along United States coastlines should prepare for an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall”.
Given these predictions and what the past has taught us about severe weather events, where does that leave you as a business owner? Businesses both large and small are impacted by severe weather events each year, often crippling operations and impacting profit and service delivery. Having and maintaining a business continuity plan is essential even when it comes to natural disaster recovery planning.
Recently we had several entrepreneurs ask us for some help putting a plan together to navigate the possibility of another pandemic, we immediately analyzed the operational resilience of the company honing in on the location and the team resilience to various scenarios. We immediately discovered there was a gap in financial resilience, which for many is a difficult but necessary topic to discuss. Business owners must understand the importance of engaging suppliers, ensuring contracts and agreements are still in place and maintaining credit and cash reserves. Take a scenario like a hurricane making a direct hit on your business, high impact- short duration event, but the recovery could be daunting without a plan in place.
Here are some actions you can take to protect your business:
1) Plan, prepare, practice. One of the only ways to be ready for a natural disaster is to have an existing plan in place. Maintaining normal business operations at the onset of a disaster is extremely difficult without a plan.
Business continuity plans should identify the critical business areas and infrastructure needed, backup off-site data storage centers, and removal of mission-critical equipment from the impacted area.
The time to prepare for these impacts is now, waiting until the onset of a disaster is never a good strategy. The pressure and duress a business owner will endure as a disaster occurs can be extremely stressful without a plan in place.
2) Back up your data – How would your business operation fare with a complete data loss? Continuity planning aside, every business owner should have data backed up in a safe secure location. The recovery process becomes much easier when data is properly backed up. Your key management leaders should have a good understanding of the business’ data backup procedures.
3) Protect the physical site of your business – Often when planning for disasters and emergencies we think of the critical processes we need to protect within our businesses. What goes overlooked is our physical locations and some of the steps we can take to storm-proof them. Simple actions such as boarding up windows and doors can fortify your location.
4) Work remotely – Consider keeping your workforce home, this reduces liability and ensures your workforce is potentially outside of the impact area. Planning to move to remote operations should be an integral part of your business continuity plan, depending on your needs. Contingencies should be in place utilizing modern technology to work remotely.