Large businesses with multiple locations across several or many states have the resources available to more easily absorb the impact from a major storm. But small businesses are often left with limited resources and support to prepare for and recover from disruptions. In this article, we offer resources and tips on preparation and recovery for small businesses BEYOND plywood and sandbags.
There are many free resources available such as the government website Ready.gov or this excellent business resiliency guidebook from America’s Small Business Development Center . There are also experts available at @tempest risk management to conduct risk assessments and design a professional ISO22301 compliant business continuity program for your business. There are free downloads available on the Tempest Risk resources page at https://www.tempestrisk.com/resources including a Business Continuity Plan template designed for small businesses.
Fully backup your data on a daily basis. There are many cloud based applications such as Carbonite for backup or cloud based file systems such as Microsoft MS365 and Google Workspace which will protect all of your data and critical company policies and procedures in the event of a disruption. SaaS applications such as the Tempest Gateway and Iluminr are designed to help maintain operations even when you suffer a complete loss of physical or IT infrastructure (Download the App for free on the Apple Store or Google Play)
Instead of trying to save everything, just focus on the most critical items, those that would be difficult to replace or sensitive equipment. Anything that is extra sensitive to moisture, wind or kinetic impact would count. Protect or move them if you can and, if not, figure out where you can quickly get a replacement and have that supplier be prepared to deliver ASAP.
If all you have to worry about is the office coffee maker, you may not need backup power. Consider how your company would be affected by a 3 day power outage. If you would suffer terribly, consider a generator or a desktop UPS such as this one at Amazon that will give you a few extra hours of power OR ability to recharge your cell phone for weeks.
Keep a few long extension cords at the office. You may be able to borrow electricity from a neighboring business who has power.
If you know you will or may experience a service disruption, let your customers know by:
PRO TIP: Following the disruption, send an email campaign to all of your current customers thanking them for their understanding and ongoing support of small businesses!
Serious disruptions to your business can be an opportunity to rebuild more efficiently and with newer resources. If you lost all of your paper documents and files, maybe it’s time to go primarily electronic. Research new systems and applications that may be able to help your business run more efficiently and scale. If you have a close for a period of time, make a bid deal out of your grand re-opening in an effort to welcome back your old customers and introduce potential new ones. Even the worst wildfires are part of a natural cycle of renewal. With the right outlook and approach, you can elevate your business from one that barely survives, to a business that THRIVES!
Andy Ziegler, CBCP and Small Business Continuity Expert
President - Tempest Risk Management
Many clients Tempest Risk Management works with need help with developing policies and procedures that demonstrate compliance within a regulated industry. So how does one go about writing policies and procedures for a company that hasn’t even opened it’s doors? While this can be a tricky process to navigate, often requiring several revisions of the policies and procedures, here are some best demonstrated practices that we have found can help produce the documents that regulators are looking for.