If there’s one good thing that’s come out of the horrendous hurricane tragedies we’ve experienced for the last couple of years, it’s awareness that a disaster can impact your business. Awareness is a good thing. It spurs you into action to secure your business should a disaster strike.
The 2006 Hurricane Season predictions are pretty ominous again this year. To help small businesses prepare for the active storm season that experts are predicting, Office Depot is launching a timely educational campaign called Disaster Preparedness: Advice You Can Depend on to Weather Any Storm. The program offers lessons learned from the Company´s first-hand experience and underscores the critical need for businesses to take disaster preparedness from natural disasters to daily threats such as a computer viruses and power outages seriously. The initiative features an online disaster preparation brochure (PDF) as well as a free online seminar for small business owners .
Forty three percent of businesses damaged in a disaster close for good, and that figure rises to nearly 60 percent after one year, according to the Association of Small Business Development Centers.
Having weathered four major hurricanes last year alone at its corporate headquarters in South Florida and across nearly 100 of the Company´s Gulf State store locations, Office Depot is using its real world experience to provide businesses with practical solutions related to disaster preparation.
"A sound contingency plan can enable your small business to respond effectively to a crisis, and prevent that crisis from becoming a full-fledged disaster," said Tom Serio, Director of Global Business Continuity for Office Depot. "Office Depot knows firsthand how vital it is for businesses to prevent disruptive events that can be anticipated and reduce the impact of disruptive events that are unavoidable. Smart businesses are those that develop a strategy to protect their employees and data in the wake of a catastrophe."
"Not having a plan or back-up system in place results in shuttered businesses," said Jon Toigo, Office Depot Disaster Preparedness Advisor, an IT veteran and author of numerous books on disaster planning and recovery, including Advice You Can Depend on to Weather Any Storm. "It is time to apply pragmatism, common sense, and energy to disaster preparation."
You simply cannot afford to wait. Taking the time now to be prepared for a disaster can help your business recover if (when?) a disaster hits.
Some key tips for protecting your business are:
- Employees are a company´s most important resource. Focus on helping them navigate personal issues, from damaged homes to personal injury. This type of employee support will come back to the company in the form of loyalty. Serio notes that the most critical aspect of emergency planning is getting employees to think ahead.
- If you lose your data, you can lose your business. To protect your data, make a back-up and move the media to an off-site storage facility. Back-up your key data at least every week. Store copies of key forms and documents you use in day-to-day operations at a safe location so you will have them available to help you keep your business functioning.
For more helpful advice, sign up now to attend the online disaster preparation seminar on May 30, 2006.