Friday, May 23, 2014

Is Your Business Able to Sustain Itself After a Disaster?

By Ken Myers

In 2013, much of the United States was faced with disasters that hurt business practices. For instance, the flooding in Colorado stretched a great deal across the state rendering homes and businesses useless across many cities and towns. In the event of a human-made or natural disaster, your business needs to be able to sustain itself and the employees in order to continue being successful. What can you do to keep your business from suffering financial damage while experiencing physical destruction?

1. Insurance Plans - Of course having property insurance regarding your business could help reduce the out-of-pocket expenses that come from repairs after a disaster. The sooner your business can re-open for the customers, the less financial damage is done to your net income. Your business shouldn't remain closed because you don't have the money to fix a wall or replace doors and windows.

2. In-house Insurance - Each month, take a certain percentage from your net income and move it into a savings account of sorts. Call this your "disaster recovery" fund. As time continues, you could grow an amazing amount of money in this account that could allow you to physically move your business should a disaster render the building condemnable. Keep your business insurance premiums, but use this account to help expedite repairs or replacements.

3. Diversify Your Income - While your walk-in customers keep your employees paid and the lights on in the office, adding an online revenue stream may not be a bad idea. One of the glorious aspects of adding this online method is that it doesn't have to rely on your physical location. There are many ways that virtually any company can add a few extra dollars each month in online services and sales. In some business models, the online revenue is actually greater than the brick-and-mortar store. This will allow your business to continue making money even if your building was reduced to nothing more than rubble.

4. Backup Information - Don't contain all of your important business files and documents in a single location. If you use the Cloud to store these files, then you still have access to them whether your office burns down or not. Even many small businesses will use free folder synchronization sites that offer 5GB of storage space to be shared with several devices including online access. For these methods to work, you only need to put a file into a specific folder on your computer. The file is then instantly shared protecting the business from losing the data.

5. Employee Relief Fund - Good employees are important to the success of any business. After a disaster, these employees need to find work. If you have a dedicated relief fund for these employees, you could retain their services once your business is re-established. Even if you could offer a few days of paid "Disaster Days" separated from vacation time, it could go a long way to show your dedication to those employees that help your business succeed.

Without a plan of sustainability for your business, a single disaster could create an unrecoverable situation. Debts could begin to mount and you could become locked in a never-ending cycle of paying loans in order to survive. Prepare your business for disaster as you never know when a freak rain storm will wash half of the town down the river or when a forest fire will consume your warehouse.
Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.

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