“It happens without warning.”
Recently, our hot water heater burst – with no warning. While this didn’t cause the extreme damage of a river flood, hurricane, or other natural disaster, the water damage was surprisingly extensive. Within minutes, hot water completely soaked the upstairs carpet, leaked through the floor and inside walls, and ruined the flooring in the lower level. If my office had been directly below the hot water heater, my computer, printer, and other equipment would have been destroyed.
Recovery began immediately, of course, and the next day the insurance company authorized funds to repair the damaged walls and replace the flooring. Three months later (!) the repairs were finally completed. The total bill came to $15,000. The entire ordeal was a frustrating, time-consuming distraction from my business. But my business did continue. And even if my office had been destroyed, my business would have continued, because I had prepared in advance and I knew what to do.
Your business is at risk. Like it or not!
Maybe you’ve had one of these “close calls” recently. Or maybe you know someone who has recently experienced an outage, and you realize it could have been your business. Plus, you don’t want that sinking feeling that comes with realizing that If you had been prepared, that disaster wouldn’t have been as devastating to the business you worked so hard to build.
Your business is at risk – and that means your livelihood is at risk.
As a small business owner, your business is your livelihood. You can’t afford not to be prepared for an outage, threat, or disaster. What does “being prepared” really mean? It means:
- Identifying the threats that are most likely to happen
- Understanding the impact to your business
- Having a plan to quickly recover from those threats
- Implementing mitigations to reduce the risks and impacts
The key is advance planning.
Remember when the fire fighters visited your classroom and taught you to “Stop, Drop, and Roll” if your clothes caught on fire? A quick response can mean life or death. That’s exactly what a Disaster Recovery Plan does for you and your business. Long before something happens, you think through specific steps to immediately respond and recover. A quick response can mean the difference between life and death for your business.
And just like learning how to prevent a fire from happening in the first place, creating a Disaster Recovery Plan prompts you to think about ways to reduce the likelihood of an outage, threat, or disaster. And you’ll look for ways to minimize the impact when something does happen.
And let’s be clear: It’s not if, it’s when.
Did you notice I said “when something does happen” and not “if something does happen”? Disasters – big or small – aren’t predictable. When we say “if,” we give ourselves permission to not act, because it is possible that something bad won’t happen. But what if it does? Wouldn’t you rather be prepared to recover? Using the word “when” helps us get real about this and take action to be prepared.
I created the Micro-Biz Disaster Plan for small business owners.
As a project manager at IBM for many years, I developed comprehensive disaster recovery plans for our customers: mid-size companies with millions of dollars of annual revenue. My plans addressed regular backups to protect data, strategies to mitigate risk, tools and technologies to prevent theft or loss, and procedures to recover from disasters.
But disaster recovery plans for businesses with multiple levels of management and departments, lots of IT professionals, and more than one physical building simply don’t fit the needs of a solopreneur or a small business, particularly one that utilizes today’s technology tools and mobile devices. As a small business owner, I understand disaster recovery planning that’s relevant and appropriate for your small company. I specifically designed the Micro-Biz Disaster Plan for the small business that relies on technology, like yours.
The Micro-Biz Disaster Plan prompts you to think about the critical immediate response for the most common outages. It provides a structure for you to collect the information you’ll need and the steps you’ll need to take to recover. And it guides you to do this now, before something happens.
If you don’t have time for prevention, you’ll have to make a lot more time for recovery.
Thanks to my years at IBM and my personal disaster training and certification, I have a long-running exposure to emergency planning. I’m always thinking about prevention strategies and contingency plans. I encourage you to think about – and create – a Disaster Recovery Plan for your business. Remember, a disaster happens without warning. But you can be prepared.
Protect your business – protect your livelihood. NOW.
What you might want to know about Karen Cleveland …
- Bachelor of Science degree, computer science and math, State University of New York
- Systems analyst and programmer, Board of Cooperative Educational Services
- Software system specialist, Information Associates, Inc.
- Variety of technical management positions with IBM: project assurance manager, project manager (included creating disaster recovery plans for IBM clients), software development, systems analyst, marketing systems engineer
- Completed the U.S. government’s CERT Training Program: The Community Emergency Response Team program provides education for disaster preparedness and training in disaster response skills
- Certified, AssistU Virtual Assistance Program
- Professional memberships:
- National Association of Women Business Owners
- LinkedIn Groups
- Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Consultants
- Business Continuity Management for SMBs
- Business Continuity In Plain English
- The Resiliency Professional Network