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Are you prepared? What to do when disaster strikes

The American spirit is one of innovation, creativity and perseverance. We are all told that if you follow your dreams, anything can happen.  This dream is inherent within all of us, and has given birth to many successful enterprises such as Amazon, Tesla and Google.

Entrepreneurship was once regarded as the backbone of the American economy. To this day, many people still strive to create their own small business in the hopes that it will grow to stand the test of time.

But hrough rigorous competition, excessive taxation and unfair regulatory forces, small businesses in America are struggling.

As easy as it is to blame the government for our own personal failures, small businesses aren’t doing everything they can to stay afloat. In fact, “66% of small businesses with fewer than 100 employees have no tested business continuity or disaster recovery processes in place.” Before small businesses start looking to fix external threats, they need to address the issues that reside within their own organization.

So let’s take inventory of your business and see what we can do to keep poor planning from shutting down your own American dream.

The Aftermath of Disaster

Sometimes the worst case scenario is the only scenario. Disaster can strike at any moment – whether it be from the elements, a break in or cyberattack. And small businesses are particularly susceptible.

When the Joplin tornado touched down in 2011, 553 businesses were completely destroyed or severely damaged. After the dust settled, every one of those business owners were thinking the same thing, “How am I going to get through this?”

You’ve poured your lifeblood into your business, investing a significant amount of time and money to make your dream a reality. To have your business crumble because of some unforeseen event is absolutely heartbreaking, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t soften the blow if and when a disaster hits.

Staying Above Water

The first step to prepare your business for the worst is to identify the threats posed by both natural and man-made disasters. Your overall goal should be to ensure that your business remains operable and minimize the time it takes to become fully functional if something were to happen.

Invest in the creation of a business continuity plan, outlining the specific steps needed to take in case of a disaster. This plan should cover every possible harmful situation that could arise, and what needs to be done to minimize the amount of damage it could cause.

Specificity is key.

The more situations you analyze and prepare for, the more likely your business will survive. Keeping your data and infrastructure intact is essential to keeping your business functional. Simply backing up all your files, having an alternate place to work or equipping your employees to be able to work out of the office are easy measures to minimize the damage a disaster could cause.

It’s scary to think that in a single moment, everything you’ve worked for could be gone. This fear of the unknown is what keeps many business owners from planning for disaster. No one wants to think that a tornado could wipe their business off the face of the Earth or their files could be held ransom by someone in another country. Once this reality sets in, and you begin planning for the absolute worst, you are ensuring that when disaster strikes, you won’t go down without a fight.

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