Running a business can be hard enough at the best of times, but what if disaster was to strike? Would your firm be able to cope with and recover from events like fires, floods or power outages? Most businesses are unable to resume operations after a major disaster–make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

The simple fact is, many companies lack the contingency plans needed to deal with emergency scenarios like these, meaning they are at risk of suffering major financial losses and reputational damage. To ensure your firm doesn’t fall into this trap, take a look at this business guide to preparing for disaster.

Assess the risks and identify your critical functions

Firstly, it’s important to identify the risks facing your company and to assess how much of an impact they would have on your operations. For example, what effect would a forced evacuation of your premises due to flood, fire or terrorist attack have on your firm?

How much disruption would staff absences caused by epidemics or bad weather cause? What would happen if your IT systems were lost due to electrical failure or security breaches? Asking yourself questions like these will help you to identify the critical business functions that you rely on to keep your firm in operation.

Draw up contingency plans

Using this information, you should be able to determine the minimum resources you would require to keep your company functioning in the event of a disaster. This will allow you to draw up practical contingency plans. For example, by making sure you have access to backup diesel generators, you can ensure that in the event of a mains power outage, you’ll be able to continue using crucial electrical equipment.

Backup is now more important than ever

You might also want to establish an alternative site that you can go to if your premises are out of use and consider arranging off-site backup files for important business data too. With most business transactions conducted electronically, it is crucial that files and data are backed up and saved.

Related: When You May Need to Look Into an Emergency Power System

On insurance

It’s also vital that you have all the relevant insurance policies in place. What kind of coverage do you have on your facilities and properties? Are they enough to insure your recovery if a disaster does physically destroy your business?

For example, business interruption policies can cover any loss of income that you suffer as a result of a disaster, while buildings and contents insurance will pay out if your premises or stock is damaged.

Make sure everyone is in the know

Once you’ve come up with contingency plans that cover the critical elements of your business, you’ll need to communicate these measures to all the relevant parties. Most importantly, make sure your staff members are fully briefed in how to respond to emergencies.

Plan a strategic and efficient way to communicate with employees and clients while your business operations are down. You might also want to delegate key roles to members of your team to help ensure that any responses to disasters are swift and coordinated. In addition, you may need to provide details of your arrangements to your neighbours, clients and even to your customers.

Ideally, you’ll never have to put your disaster recovery procedures into action, but by making sure you have suitable measures in place just in case, you can help to safeguard your company’s ongoing success and you can boost your peace of mind.

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