How I prepared my business for a disaster🌪

How I prepared my business for a disaster

Ready to face a tornado or a hurricane as a business owner? Do you know how I prepared my business for a disaster? 🌪

I love managing crises, and my first two courses at Harvard during my master’s program were Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief and Recovery.

Crises can take various forms, affecting businesses, communities, and individuals differently. But today, let’s talk about natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, tsunamis, tornadoes, and volcanic eruptions.

One of my clients is the Red Cross, and in 2017 and 2019, I helped them with the flooding in different regions here in Canada.

But I soon realized that a disaster could hit my own business. Over the past five years, we experienced tornadoes and flooding here in my hometown.

So, with climate change, preparing my business for a disaster is essential to ensure its resilience and minimize the potential impact on operations.

As you probably already know, in a disaster, you have three phases: Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.

Here are some critical steps to consider when creating a disaster preparedness plan to be ready, just in case a disaster occurs in the future:

#1 – Identify potential risks

Identify the potential risks and vulnerabilities your business may face due to climate change, such as extreme weather events, flooding, wildfires, or supply chain disruptions. Conduct a thorough risk assessment to understand the potential impact on your operations. I manage my business online, so having the Internet is crucial. If we face a disaster at home, I know I can work from the cottage (we have the Internet there because I work from the cottage often).

#2 – Build a business continuity plan

Develop a comprehensive plan outlining how your business will continue functioning during and after a disaster. Include protocols for communication, data backup and recovery, resource allocation, and alternative work arrangements. I know this can sound funny, but I have an email ready just in case something happens, and I can’t access the Internet for a few days. Imme, my COO (who works from Switzerland), could access Kajabi and send this message to our clients.

#3 – Create an emergency response plan

Create an emergency response plan that details how your employees should react during different disaster situations. You also need to evaluate and strengthen your supply chain to minimize disruptions. Diversify suppliers and consider local sourcing to reduce the impact of supply chain interruptions caused by disasters. Because I offer services, not products, if a disaster occurs, the consultants I work with will be able to keep working because they are located in a different region.

#4 – Review your insurance coverage

Review your insurance coverage to ensure it protects your business from potential disaster-related losses, especially if you are a local and product-based business. You can consider looking at specialized policies for natural disasters and climate-related risks.

#5 – Implement data protection and backup

Implement robust data protection measures and regular data backups to safeguard critical business information. Cloud-based solutions can provide added redundancy and accessibility during a disaster. All our files or cloud-based, so I can connect and get our files when I’m working from another country or if a disaster occurs.

#6 – Create an emergency fund

Establish an emergency fund or line of credit to provide financial stability during and after a disaster. Review your financial obligations and assess potential impacts on cash flow. In my case, I have created an emergency fund to cover 12 months of our expenses (I know it can sound like a lot)… but three months can be enough for many business owners.

Another tip, collaborate with local authorities and community organizations to stay informed about disaster preparedness initiatives and resources. Community engagement can also help your business access support during recovery efforts.

Remember to review and update your disaster preparedness plan regularly for changing circumstances, new risks, and lessons learned. Every time I launch a new program or service, I always revise this plan to confirm how to continue my services in case of a disaster.

I may be too cautious, but managing disasters over the years taught me that it is better to be prepared than react once a disaster occurs.

By proactively preparing your business for disasters, you can enhance its ability to withstand and recover from climate-related challenges. Investing in resilience demonstrates your commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices, which may resonate positively with customers, employees, and stakeholders.

As a business owner, are you ready for a tornado, hurricane, or flooding? I’d love to know… if you already faced a disaster, how did you react, and what lessons did you learn?

Share some tips!


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