Businesses fail for a number of reasons. From a lack of sales or market to a bad team and leadership, the list could go on and on. In yet, while all of this is caused by internal business errors, what do we do about the things that are out of our control?
Having a disaster strike upon your business is one of our biggest nightmares. With the amount of headaches we already have to deal with, these usually slip our minds as somewhat reasonable expectations, but nothing we should worry about. However, by not being prepared, they could also be the cause of us closing our doors for good.
Today we’re going to go over a few types of disasters that could impact your business, as well as what you can do to protect yourself. Even if you don’t think these could happen to you, it’s good to take note on as disaster isn’t necessarily something we plan for.
Natural disasters are defined as major adverse events resulting from the natural processes of the earth. These include earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, tornados, etc. While these events are considerably more frequent in certain parts of the country (I.E.: Earthquakes in San Francisco, Tornados in the midwest), business owners can still be grossly unprepared. According to Nationwide, 2 out of 3 small businesses lack a disaster recovery plan even though it would take over three months for them to rebuild.
Coming up with a plan to combat the aftermath of a natural disaster is something to consider highly. While you may not be able to afford a bunker with satellite internet and enough food to last through the second great flood, knowing where to find a few services such as a backup generator could save the life of your business.
Cyber security threats are becoming more and more prevalent every day. In fact, just this past week we saw global investors lose $52.4 billion dollars due to a cyber attack, with plenty more attempts happening all the time.
Out of all the disasters that could strike, this one has hurt businesses the most. Not only is their information compromised, but so is their customer’s as well. This leads to a major hit when it comes to trusting a product, with users/customers flocking away in a mass exodus. And unless you’re someone Target or Yahoo, then data security breaches could potentially put your business out of commission.
However, as hackers have gotten more and more evolved in their methods, so have the firms that are trying to stop them. Having a security audit done can be one of the first steps in seeing where your vulnerabilities lie. Additionally, it might not be a bad idea to invest in a private server, especially if you’re storing financial or health data (although, I’ll note for these to be successfully implemented, bringing on an IT expert could be necessary). And finally, you could also think about hosting some information on a cloud-based server such as AWS or Google.
While these solutions range in price, they’re important to consider when it comes to keeping your information safe.
Local disasters are the ones we probably think about the least but could provide the most damage. These can blend with natural disasters (flooding, blizzards, to name a few) but that’s also defined by how well your city or town manages these things. For example, a town in New England probably would bat an eye at five feet of snow while it could potentially shut down a city in Maryland.
These disasters can also include logistical or public service failures, such as water mains bursting or above ground power lines collapsing. I’ll note that the severity of this stuff is usually pretty commonplace, with most issues being resolved within a couple of days. However, it’s good to be prepared in case something really goes awry.
The Small Business Association has put together an excellent guide on planning for emergency preparedness. In it you’ll find an array of resources including preparedness for different types of events you may incur, as well as general information on how to deal with insurance and tax information. As they reported that over 25% of businesses don’t reopen after a disaster, there’s no better time to start preparing than right now.