Are you hiding under a rock about the real truth on business disaster? Think it won’t happen to you? Think again. Disasters, both big and small, happen every single day in the business world. Just read the news headlines — fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes. Not to mention the small disasters like a critically important computer getting fried.
Yet even today most small business owners (84 percent) don’t believe that a disaster will affect their business over the next twelve months and 77 percent of you admit that your business is not fully prepared should one occur according to a new survey from MasterCard.
Dig your head out from under that rock, dust it off and get to work preparing for something you hope never comes. Start looking ahead. Now.
To help you out, MasterCard offers the following tips to help small business owners make sure that following a natural disaster, their employees are safe, their assets are replaced and their financial data is secure.
- Keep important financial records organized and safe — Make backup copies of all critical files such as accounting and employee payroll data, as well as customer lists, and inventory and store these records in a safe off-site location. If your business´s financial information is online, via your financial institution´s web site, you can access your information and direct payments to your suppliers or other partners even when you may be away from your office.
- Maintain up-to-date contact information for critical parties — Have customer and vendor phone numbers, addresses and email addresses handy so you can notify them promptly if your business has to suspend operation. Make copies of contact information for professional advisors as well, such as lawyers, banks, and credit card and insurance companies so that you know how to reach them in an emergency.
- Empower employees to keep the business moving — Empower employees to keep the business moving by providing them with business debit or credit cards to use when they make business-related purchases. If in an emergency or other situation you decide to allow employees to make non-business purchases with those cards, contact your issuing bank to give them more flexibility. You can advance employees cash, extend credit limits or loosen restrictions on the types of purchases the card will allow.
- Make your business more agile — Enable employees to access email and other IT capabilities, such as shared hard drives from remote sites, so they can continue working even when they can´t get to the office. Providing key employees with mobile phones, PDAs and handheld email devices will also allow them to stay in touch with customers and access company information from virtually anywhere.
More help can be found in the JFSB Business Disaster Archives. Do you have a suggestion for disaster preparation? Leave me a comment.