Japan Crisis Offers 5 Small-Business Lessons

Small business owners in the United States should be paying special attention to the crisis in Japan. There are many lessons to be learned following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the country on March 11. Because smaller businesses might not have enough time and resources to make emergency planning front and center, they are at risk each time even a minor disaster strikes.

A recent TheStreet.com article pointed out that emergency preparedness does not need to be overwhelming or expensive. Author Laurie Kulikowski provides many simple and cost-effective tips for putting a disaster plan in place.

1. Be in the cloud: Businesses of all sizes need emergency backup servers located in a state less prone to natural disasters. They also should provide employee access to virtual servers. By keeping information on the Web, it can be accessed from wherever there’s a working connection.

2. Cross-train employees: By cross-training employees, work can continue being done even if an expert is missing or unavailable.

3. Create emergency preparedness procedures: Where should employees duck and cover? Where should they report after an emergency? How do you find and turn off gas and water lines? Also, keep emergency supplies on hand, including first aid kits, water bottles, defibrillators, fire extinguishers, battery-operated flashlights, etc.

4. Establish a succession or business continuity plan: Business continuity plans are important not only for natural disasters but also for general planning purposes. They allow businesses to successfully manage their capital needs and risk.

5. Practice, practice, practice: Once plans are created, small businesses should hold drills annually or more often so that employees know what to do when disaster strikes.

For more information about emergency preparation in your small business, read the full article: http://www.thestreet.com/story/11048909/1/japan-crisis-offers-5-small-business-lessons.html