It's May, officially "Small Business Month" for 2014. The month kicks off with some good news: ADP reported that small businesses added 82,000 jobs in April. And NFIP, the National Federation of Independent Business, reports that its Optimism Index reached 95, a level not seen since October 2007.
Good news offset by grim realities
This good news is dimmed by continuing reports of natural disasters affecting business owners across the country: wildfires in southern California, severe storms in the central states, and the east coast hurricane season just around the corner. And as I write this, I'm aware that s the one-year anniversary of the tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma in 2013.
There is no way a business can survive some of these disadvantages.
But every business can take steps to survive emergencies, and keep them from becoming disasters. The NFIB points to the path: "Emergency preparedness must be built into the culture of the organization."
Build a culture of preparedness
Having a plan, and having practiced it, goes a long way towards building that necessary "culture." (In fact, NOT having a plan pretty much negates any chance of it.) Plenty of excellent resources are available online to help you build your plan – from FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security and the Red Cross. Even NFIB has a good starter article.
The best plans also have scheduled practice. Everyone needs to understand the basics of emergency or safety equipment. In many cases, when the emergency strikes, some employees may be missing. Others will need to step up to perform jobs that are not usually their. There will be no time for training once the disaster hits.
Customize your Business Continuity Plan
Most of the generic plans, however, do not really get to the specifics that make the plan effective for your given business!
To help fill in these gaps, we're putting together a series of short videos. Each deals with one potentially "missing piece" of a typical small business continuity plan.
You can see the first three videos now. They cover different aspects of emergency communications in the business setting . In less than 16 minutes you can get some common-sense recommendations that will apply if services are temporarily disrupted, buildings are damaged, or your entire workplace becomes unusable.
Interestingly enough, just last week a report came out from Tinker Federal Credit Union who branch in Moore went through the Oklahoma tornado. One of its recommendations: "Enhance on-site communications during a disaster."