The past three weeks have been tough for all of us, to say the least. As all of us have banded together, put on our seat belts and have screamed: "let me off of this roller coaster", there have been a ton of realizations. So here's my realization and true confession- we didn't have a disaster plan in place. We have been in operation for two years, and I could come up with a slew of excuses: we are just getting started, too busy, it won't happen to us, etc. But, the fact of the matter is that we needed one and we didn't have one.
Now that that embarrassing confession is over, here's the other side of my confession. I am a little bit glad that I didn't have one in place. Why? Because not having gone through a true disaster, I would have put together a pretty bland disaster plan. Now that we have a disaster under our belt and we have had the luxury of consulting with some of the best experts in the business, we have a good idea of what needs to be done... especially what we could have done better.
Disaster plans, or also known as business continuity plans, are documents that help us step away from the emotion during a scary time. When you have a well thought out and practical plan that you can fall back on during a time of chaos, life will be MUCH easier.
Essentially, there are three steps in creating a disaster plan:
1) Identify your high-risk disasters and what impact they are likely to have on your business. The most common risks are natural disasters and cyber-attacks... but now, we are adding biological disasters.
2) Secure your operations to ensure that you are able to continue some form of business operations. Of course, this looks very different for most businesses. Working remotely, taking your business online, etc. What adaptions can you make to move forward?
3) Develop your "to call" list. In the event of a disaster, it is very confusing to figure all of the people you need to call. Over the years, you have developed a team of experts to help you during the hard times; now is the time to activate that team. Some examples are your insurance broker, attorney, CPA, local SBDC, and HR Branches (of course).
As all of us are moving and adapting our businesses in this time of the unknown, we may find ourselves in one of two camps- crazy busy or crazy slow. Either way, creating a disaster plan today may help us to keep our ducks in a row now and in the future.
Of course, we would never leave you to your own devices, so we have created a disaster plan template just for you. This template is a fill in the blank document that will help you get the foundation of your disaster plan in place. But, remember, no two businesses are the same, and there is no way to capture every aspect of your business in a template. As you complete this disaster plan, think about your business's specifics and how you can customize your plan to ensure that you can keep your business moving forward now and in the future.
Our friend Aikta Marcoulier of the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center says, "It's not a matter of IF your business will experience a disaster, it is a matter of WHEN." The COVID-19 pandemic has proven this statement to be 100% true. Although we are in the middle of a crisis, now is better than never to start disaster planning.
Disclaimer: HR Branches provides general information about Human Resources. Please note that the information provided, while reliable, is not legal advice. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make sure your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location and circumstances. The purpose of this information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance on general HR matters.
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