Is Your Business Prepared for the Worst?

The U.S. has seen floods and tornadoes devastate its central and southern regions in the early part of 2011. And in a staggering statistic released by the federal government, one in four businesses affected by a natural disaster never reopens. And according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), 90% of businesses that don’t reopen their business within five days ultimately fail.

However, there are agencies available that are specifically geared toward helping the small to medium business survive disaster, according to a www.portfolio.com report by Nancy Goll. Don’t forget that business survival after a disaster strikes depends on an iron-clad business continuity plan that is communicated to stakeholders and practiced regularly within your business. Other resources that can help include:

The Small Business Administration

Because 90 percent of small companies (those with fewer than 100 employees) reported they spend less than one day a month on business continuity, the SBA created a Prepare My Business Website in early 2011. The site (http://www.sba.gov/) focuses on helping businesses increase their chances of survival through effective disaster recovery.

The site guides visitors through disaster planning, education, testing and assistance with interactive, downloadable checklists and templates for risk assessment, communications plans and practice exercises. The site also provides free monthly Webinars, such as “Protecting Your Business This Hurricane Season.”

Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) site (http://www.ready.gov/) provides visual guides and tip sheets about recognizing the effects of biological, chemical and nuclear attacks. It also offers information and worksheets that help businesses prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

In another DHS initiative, called the Ready Business Mentoring Initiative, small- and medium-size businesses can rely on volunteer, private-sector instructors for readiness training, such as “Ready Business: Developing a Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness Plan for Your Business.”

Federal Emergency Management Administration

The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) offers a downloadable Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry at www.fema.gov. The guide walks businesses through a “vulnerability analysis and developing and testing a continuity plan.”

Businesses and nonprofits can also visit the Internal Revenue Service’s Website for tax-related disaster relief if applicable.

For more information about small and medium business disaster preparedness, read the full article: http://www.portfolio.com/business-news/2011/05/16/how-your-business-can-recover-from-natural-disasters-like-tornadoes-floods