Did you know that 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster?
And the fact is no business owner is immune. Whether you operate out of a home-based office, lease space on Main Street, or do business wherever you can find it, natural and man-made disasters are a constant threat.
Try operating a home-based business without power for several days and, believe me, you’ll never look at everyday conveniences like power and the Internet in the same way ever again!
But the trouble with disaster planning is that many business owners think the threat lies elsewhere, and couldn’t possibly happen in their back yard. Yet time and time again, from Nashville to the Gulf, California to the Plains, disasters are an ever-present threat to the small business dream that can hit when least expected.
So in light of what we all know, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced this week that it has partnered with Agility Recovery Solutions to launch an unprecedented effort to develop a one-stop online resource devoted to the sustainability of small businesses through business continuity planning.
Aptly named Prepare My Business, this online educational portal provides small business owners access to a variety of tools and solutions to strengthen their firms’ resilience when faced with unforeseen interruptions — whether manmade or natural disasters. Additionally, the program addresses the steps business owners should take in order to develop a business continuity plan, including a detailed risk analysis and evaluation of critical business functions.
What differentiates the “Prepare My Business” initiative from other disaster assistance resources is that it not only addresses what we come to think of as major disasters such as earthquakes and flooding, but also offers strategies for preparing for common everyday events such as server failure, burst pipes, and power outages — all of which can be equally devastating for a small business.
The user-friendly site (www.preparemybusiness.org) is broken down into the four key actionable elements of disaster preparedness and recovery – Planning, Education (webinars), Testing (i.e. what to test, how to test it, when to test…) and Disaster Assistance (such as SBA Disaster Assistance Loan Programs).
Live Monthly Webinars: Keeping Disaster Preparedness Top-of-Mind
In addition to the web-based resources, SBA and Agility are also hosting a monthly webinar series to promote continuous learning among small business owners. Dates for the first three webinars are already set:
- 10 Steps to Business Preparedness, June 22. Register
- Testing Your Recovery Plan, July 27. Register
- Understanding Disaster Assistance Funding with the SBA, August 24. Register.
Disaster preparedness can be a lifeline for staying in business – don’t leave it until it’s too late!
- When the Worst Happens – Disaster Assistance Loans, Tax Relief and other Lifelines for Your Business
- Business.gov’s Small Business Disaster Planning Guide – Includes step-by-step advice for protecting your business assets, including your property and business records (including those irreplaceable tax and financial records) as well as a business recovery checklist to help you get back on your feet again after a disaster.