I was interviewed yesterday for an article on what small businesses should do to prepare for disaster recovery. In the wake of the tragedy in Japan, this journalist is hoping to help this country’s business owners be better prepared for crisis. Here are several tips I shared with her, and now you…

  1. Practice disasters situations at least monthly. Just like when we were kids with fire drills and regular CPR training, the only way we really know what to do is to practice skills often. Make practicing what I call “situations” a part of your company culture and stick with it.  It won’t seem mundane when it needs to be used for real!
  2. Pre-plan your business continuation plan. Have a location to send your employees; plan to have resources (products, office supplies, computers) available. May be from your home or a different location. There are disaster recovery services that can get you generators, office space, and connectivity quickly. It’s worth checking them out or at least developing your own plan to be elsewhere if needed.
  3. Redundancy is critical. Back-up all your computer data and store it off-site. In fact, there are ways to keep it out of the region. Make your redundancy wide and deep, and easily accessible. The more places you store, the better chance you will have of not experiencing downtime.
  4. Create a communication tree. Like redundancy, make it wide and deep. Have a system that incorporates telephone, cell phones, e-mail, and text. Make sure your employees have a communication chain to family if the disaster happens during work hours.
  5. Just like an emergency kit at home, make sure you have supplies like water, food, batteries, and food available. I’m often amazed how well people tend to this at home, but don’t do it at work where they spend at least 40 hours a week.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

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