In light of recent events in Queensland and other parts of Australia over the past couple of weeks, and a nasty experience that someone very dear to me had with her business last week, I wanted to write an article about how you can ensure you have a business continuity plan in place to get you back on your feet quickly; even if everything is falling down around you and it looks like all hope is lost.
I hope my ‘beloved’ (I will call her that as she is very close to me and to keep her identity sacred) is ok with me talking about this, but I wanted to touch on this while it is still fresh on my mind.
As you know, Queensland experienced a natural disaster of epic proportions that completely destroyed 100s homes and businesses. Some people lost both, which would be so devastating I can’t even imagine. However, last week my ‘beloved’ had a disaster of her own, with her business burning to the ground in a matter of minutes. Everything (99%) completely destroyed by either the fire, smoke or the stuff used to put the fire out. Can she continue on with her business when she has lost absolutely everything? Will her insurance cover her costs to repair? Her business was so new that she had only been operating from that building for 2 weeks, with the fitout nearly completely done and only minor things to make it perfect. It is such a shame, and we cried. Thankfully, she and her employee were OK but the disaster could have been so much worse, she could have had a workshop full of kids, so we are looking on the positive side.
Anway, the topic today is about continuing your business when faced with a disaster like these. Do you have a backup plan in case of a disaster?
Too often business owners neglect these types of things because they are swamped or don’t understand how important it really is until it is too late.
A backup plan is essential and it is easy to do.
Start with buying an external hard drive that is stored off your premises (at home maybe) and backup regularly as part of your routine. Weekly is recommended, but you may want to do it daily, isn’t it worth the time it takes compared to the heart ache of trying to remember everything and do it all again.
Then create a checklist of all the things you need to continue your business within days of the disaster.
List what is really necessary and what can wait until you replenish supplies, stock, etc.
If you can start again from another premises, what should you make sure you have available to you so you can start getting back on your feet quickly.
What about your customer list? They need to know what has happened and maybe they will even help you to raise money, rebuild and give you encouragement and support. That is the best testimonial in the world by the way!
What about your software, documentation, emails, books and records, certificates etc? Your backup plan should include:
- Identifying critical business functions
- Identifying information resources that are required to support and enable critical business functions
- Determining your backup method and medium (off site)
- Identifying types of files to be backed up
- Determining backup procedures and policies
Here are some checklist ideas I found on the net (no use reinventing the wheel). There are also business continuity plan templates available to help you get started. Take a look at all the links below and list the things appropriate for you. Do it now while recent events are fresh on your mind. If you are unlucky enough for it to happen again you will be prepared, if not, how would you cope?
Leave a comment below and tell me if you had a disaster recovery plan, how it helped you and what you should have included but missed.
PS. My beloved is getting back on her feet and has had a lot of community support which has lifted her spirits considerably. She even found her wedding rings in the chard remains (she takes them off to teach her classes) but her insurance is not adequate to cover the damage and she will need donations to help her get setup quickly. If you can help please contact me and I will put you in touch with her. She didn’t have a disaster recovery plan and everything was onsite, except for some stuff on her home computer and an email autoresponder program that stores her customer email addresses, so I am hoping it is on the top of her list now.