Recently, 20 business owners/managers participated in a Hills Bank Business Academy event to hear Dutch Geisinger and John Halbrook from Safeguard Iowa Partnership discuss keeping businesses opened during emergency situations. Topics covered included why you need a business continuity plan, what a business continuity plan is, and how to get started. Here’s an overview of what we learned:
According to ready.gov, one in every three businesses has been affected by extreme weather or severe storms, and on average business loss equates to $3,000 per day for small businesses. Nearly 60% of small businesses impacted by disasters never recover and fail within the first three years, while 25% never reopen their business doors.
A business continuity plan allows key operations of a business to continue without stoppage regardless of adverse circumstances of the disaster events. According to the Eastern Kentucky University Department of Safety, Security, and Emergency Management, without a business continuity plan, your business is susceptible to:
- Lost income
- Increased/unexpected expenses
- Regulatory fines
- Contractual penalties
- Customer and employee dissatisfaction
Safeguard Iowa Partnership estimates that only 35% of small to mid-sized businesses have a comprehensive business continuity plan. Some considerations for your business include:
- Have a disaster recovery/business continuity planning document.
A written document should be shared with employees so they know what to do in a disaster situation.
- Identify how your business carries critical processes.
Many businesses have critical processes including customer service, financial obligations, dependencies and inter-dependencies, health and safety of personnel, and contractual obligations including customer confidence.
- Identify key employees, functions, and resources.
Create a contact list (both internal and external) will help alert notifications to employees, vendors and customers.
- Describe recovery of essential processes.
Pre-planning is critical so you can make timely decisions if you need to recover business functions.
How to get started with a business continuity plan:
- Develop key emergency contact information.
- Establish key relationships and partnerships.
- Develop redundancies for paper documentation.
- Understand your insurance policy.
- Identify critical components like redundancies, equipment, suppliers, customers, employees, and business functions.
- Train and education employees.
Attendees received a free business emergency guide as well as a business continuity workbook and template. If you would like to become a member of Safeguard Iowa or for more info and resources visit http://www.safeguardiowa.org/.