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Planning for disaster

How to increase the odds your company will survive an event that would put others out of businessdisasterpreparedness

No one thinks it will happen to their business. Flood, fire, earthquakes, loss of data, violence in the workplace – those things impact other business owners, not you.

But failing to plan for a disaster can be a critical mistake – one that could put you out of business. In the first year after a disaster, statistics show that between 40 percent and 60 percent of businesses never reopen, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Following a catastrophic event, 90 percent of companies will be out of business unless they are able to resume operation within five days.

As a business owner, it is critical that you understand all of the risks your company faces, that you have a plan in place and that you have sufficient coverage to ensure that – should disaster strike – your company can be back up and running quickly.

Planning to ensure survival

Every business needs a plan to ensure that their business is operational following a catastrophic event. Follow these steps to create a plan so that your company will be positioned to survive even if the unexpected happens.

  • Assess potential risks and their cost to your business, focusing on risks that would prevent you from operating. Estimate the cost of each risk and determine how you can mitigate it.
  • Determine how to continue operating if disaster strikes. Can employees work remotely? How will you access data, vendor and customer information? How will you handle payroll?
  • Create an essential contacts list. Include information for emergency response personnel, key employees, insurance agents, vendors and anyone else critical to the operation of your business.
  • Understand which are your core products and services – and which are not. To make sure your business is bringing in the most money it can at this critical time, you’ll need to know where to focus your personnel and your efforts.
  • Practice. Make sure everyone has a copy of the plan and that everyone understands it. Test the plan to gain an understanding of where the weaknesses lie, and adjust accordingly.

Being proactive, creating a plan and having sufficient insurance in place will greatly increase your chances of being one of the small businesses that survives a disaster – and not one of the many that fail to ever recover.

For more information on creating a business continuity plan, visit, or



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