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No business wants to be hit by a disaster-certainly, not the sort that weakens its ability to continue operating or causes it to shut down.

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Unfortunately, disasters-whether they’re floods, fires, or cyberattacks –is a part of existence, and are certain to happen at some point. When they do, they inflict significant losses on businesses. Many small enterprises are unable to cope with such outcomes. It’s not uncommon for them to go out of business because they can’t cover the cost of getting back on their feet.

You can prevent this from happening to your business. By preparing a disaster recovery plan before a disaster actually occurs, you’ll give your business a fighting chance of surviving and restarting soon after.

Here are the steps you can take to create a disaster recovery plan that works for your business.

Draw Up An Emergency Response Plan

An emergency response plan details the actions that you and your team should take in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Such a plan should list, describe, and assign responsibilities to you and members of your team. Those responsibilities will be aimed at limiting the negative impact of a disaster, such as damages or loss of inventory, assets, and other important items.

Depending on the nature and scale of the event, your plan may also include ways that you could call on external support (e.g. the fire service if it’s a fire). It’s also important to conduct drills and train your staff periodically so that they’re able to follow the protocols you’ve laid out in the emergency response plan.

Create A Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan is created to ensure that a business that’s faced a major disruption to its activities is able to resume operations as quickly as possible.

The first step in designing this plan is to understand the possible nature and scale of a disaster, and the impact it could have on various aspects of your business (and the business as a whole). After determining this, you may go on to document resources that could help to reduce the impact of specific disasters (for example, cloud backup for important data and workloads).

Just as you’ll do with your emergency response plan, prepare your staff to implement a business continuity plan by conducting occasional training.

Make Sure Your Insurance Coverage Is Sufficient

Businesses are strongly encouraged to get insurance coverage. This may help them to cover the cost of repairing and replacing important items, such as IT infrastructure, machines and equipment, and inventory.

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However, it’s not enough to purchase just any sort of insurance. Examine the policy you’re taking out to ensure that it takes care of everything you’d like to replace in the event of a disaster destroying the existing ones. If your current insurance coverage isn’t enough, try to get additional insurance that’ll deal with specific disasters.

Gather Up Emergency Resources

Put together a list of supplies that could aid a rapid return to near-normal operations for your business. This will include reliable alternative power supply and device chargers. Also stock up on first aid kits, just in case your staff are physically affected in a disaster.

Emergency resources shouldn’t be physical stuff alone, especially if you’re dependent on digital technology. You can prepare for a disaster by utilizing cloud technologies that help you to backup your data and duplicate your documents. Things you’ll want to save in multiple storage locations include customer data, crucial work data, and sensitive financial information.

Keep In Touch With Customers And Suppliers

This will be an important part of your efforts to ensure continuity for your business. Keeping your customers, suppliers and other partners in the know about major disruptions to your operations will let you retain their trust, while you work to get back to a normal state.

Your communication with your customers should happen over multiple channels, including email, social media, and text messaging platforms. Do what you can to assure them of continued quality service, and deliver on this promise as much as you’re able to given the circumstances.

Final Words

Every business should have a disaster recovery plan. It’s a tool in your arsenal that could prevent your business from being crippled by a disaster, and get it back to functioning soon after.

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This article was first published on 5th April 2022


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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