Does Your Business Have a Disaster Plan?
I'm one of those Moms (and business owners) who thinks, "Yeah.. I'll back up my PC. Someday." I'm also great at planning out how I would handle an emergency that would require a complete and total halt to my business -- but I never really execute.
All that changed when we got the word that the Missouri River was flooding. While we haven't completely moved out of our home/office, we have been set to work from the road, if need be. (And I wish that I had planned out the logistics much earlier.) Here are some of the parts to my plan that I will be sure to have ready the next time we have a disaster (God forbid):
1. Contract clauses - Do you have agreements with your clients promising to deliver a service or product on time? Does that contract allow for emergency situations such as illness or natural disaster? Luckily, most of my client agreements are pretty flexible. Those that I work with all understood that an evacuation was going to cut into my productivity. I didn't lose business over my failure to deliver a few posts.
2. Alternate income sources - When I lost internet for a few days, it really put me behind on my social media marketing (and could have cost my clients theirs, as well.) This got me thinking to how I would deal with having to stop all of my real-time promotional services in the case of a true natural disaster. Would I be able to make up for the losses with pure freelance article writing? Most likely, I could. But I should have a plan in place that allows for me to see what I would lose if connectivity was an issue, and how I could cover that amount with other income streams.
3. Portability - If my home or office was completely boxed up, under water, or without power/internet, how could I survive in the long-term? I had to brainstorm a few solutions, but I basically came to the conclusion that I could take a small net book or iPad and do much of my work from the public library when it was open, or the laundry mat when it was closed.
4. Balance - With everything around me in chaos, could I handle the stress of being a work-at-home mom? It was already a challenge, but with no working washer or dryer, limited resources from family and friends (who were dealing with their own flood issues), and the uncertainty that plagued my family's usually lightheartedness, it was doubly stressful. My usual tactics were going to have to be stepped up, and we were probably going to eat out more than our usual 1-2 times a month. (Thanks, McDonald's.)
In a true disaster (tornado, rapid flooding, illness), I may not be able to employ all of my disaster plans. Planning and preparedness helps minimize loss, however, and I've learned quite a bit about how to do it right!
Would your business survive in the worst case scenario?