Top-Shelf Tip No. 174:

"The tendency of an event to occur varies inversely with one's preparation for it."

David Searles

Is Your Business Prepared For Disaster? Part 1

While the floodwaters in Southeast Texas are still receding, early estimates of the cost to business are staggering. BBVA Research U.S. estimates the damage as high as $60 billion, which could affect Texas' real GDP by more than one percent.

When people think of disasters, they generally envision hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes—catastrophic events that devastate communities. But for a business, a disaster can be something as small as a failed server, a building fire or a burst plumbing pipe. Although these events rarely make the news, they can have a devastating impact on a business, often bringing operations to a standstill. Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today shares these 10 tips that can help you prepare your business in case of future disaster as outlined by Scott Teel, marketing director at Agility Recovery. Teel recently shared these tips with CharlotteBusinessSource.com.

1. Assess your risk, both internally and externally. Which disasters will most likely impact your business? Though major disasters dominate the headlines, most business interruptions are caused by everyday events, such as power outages, human error and technology failure. It is important to assess your risk for catastrophic weather occurrences, but it is equally important to assess exposure to more commonplace risks.

2. Analyze your critical business functions. Evaluate and document how your company functions and determine which processes, employees, equipment and materials are critical for your daily operations. Critical business functions include things such as as billing, payroll and service fulfillment. List these functions and determine a process for restoring them in the event of an interruption.

3. Plan for an alternate location. What would you do if your facilities were inaccessible tomorrow? Where would you go to continue basic business operations? Review your site requirements and determine a plan for recovery. Alternate site options include your home, a branch or second location, the site of a similar business, or a vendor that provides recovery office space.

4. Consider supply chain preparedness. Develop a continuity plan for supply chain logistics in the event of a disaster. Talk to your key vendors and suppliers about their recovery plans. Develop relationships with alternate vendors in case your primary vendors experience an interruption.

5. Ensure employees and their families are prepared for disasters, both at work and at home. For businesses, their most important assets are their employees. While data recovery and business continuity may form the backbone of a disaster recovery strategy, if employees are unable or unwilling to report to work, having your systems back online may prove worthless. Help your employees prepare for disasters at home, ensure they know their role in your continuity plan, and develop and practice crisis communications plans that incorporate both employees and their families.

Source: Scott Teel is marketing director at Agility Recovery. These tips first appeared on CharlotteBusinessResources.com. Born out of a business unit within General Electric, Agility Recovery was established as a ReadySuite offering in 2004 to help all kinds of businesses with all types of disasters.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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