The tornado that leveled the Kansas town of Greensburg is a reminder that disaster can hit at any time, threatening any small business in the way. So, small-business consultant SCORE’s new advice on preparing for disaster is especially timely.
1. List any emergency your business could possibly experience. Include internal, external, natural, man-made and product or personnel issues. Your plan needs to be general enough to cover all of these categories, yet specific enough to provide guidelines for each.
2. Develop a disaster plan. This should include phone numbers and e-mail addresses of all employees; bank, insurance and leasing information; your customer information; back-up data; and any information vital for running your business.
3. Familiarize staff with the plan. Share the disaster plan with business partners and employees, and make sure they know their role in an emergency.
4. Make copies of the plan. Store a copy that is easily accessible at your business, as well as at least one copy elsewhere. If something happens at your business location, you need to be able to access your plan off-site.
5. Keep your plan up-to-date. When any changes occur, such as account numbers or addresses, make the changes to your disaster plan. Review your plan periodically to make sure it remains viable and current.
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