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Alternative Risk Financing: Not Just For The Big Guys
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Unfortunately, many small businesses ignore business continuity planning - perhaps because this seems so simple that they just don't need to do it. Here are five basic (and cost-effective) steps you need to take before disaster strikes:

  1. Define who's in charge. Because you might be unavailable after a disaster - injured, ill, on vacation, etc. - designate an order of succession to avoid confusion and unclear responsibility during the recovery process.
  2. Avoid a communication breakdown. Normal communication infrastructure might be disabled after a disaster, so make sure you have alternatives for employees, customers, clients, key suppliers, and subcontractors. At a minimum, have phone numbers (landline and cellular), and e-mail addresses. Don't rely on outdated, unreliable methods such as phone communication trees. Use a voicemail system supported by a vendor with communication equipment offsite. Don't forget to consider backup power needs.
  3. Perform data backups. Be sure to make duplicate copies of data regularly, with one copy at a location that's easy and inexpensive to access.
  4. Have a Plan B. if your facility is destroyed or access is denied by civil authorities, can you conduct certain business operations from home or a local hotel? For example, what steps can you take to replace computers and retrieve data?
  5. Make sure you have enough insurance. In a worst-case disaster scenario (major fire, windstorm, civil disorder, etc.), you might well lose your business assets and face a period of downtime - zero cash flow. Insurance can keep you afloat until you're back on your feet.

We stand ready to help design a comprehensive, cost effective program that can make your business less risky.

Shawna Kreis
Other articles by: Shawna Kreis
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