Five Steps to Prepare a Disaster Plan for Your Business
- J.P. Tujague
If disaster strikes, is your business prepared? Most businesses have a business plan, but you may be surprised how many don’t have a business disaster plan – a set of guidelines to minimize the impact of a disaster, natural or otherwise.
Of course, the odds of a disaster striking your business are very small, but it’s a possibility nonetheless. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place to help your business survive and recover should the unthinkable happen.
1. Back up your records—including bank statements, tax records, and insurance policies.
Every business relies on documentation as a part of its day-to-day operation. So it only makes sense to make sure important documents and vital records are not only kept safe but backed up in the event of a loss. Fortunately, the digital age makes this process easier. Businesses should consider storing all documents like insurance policies, historical and year-to-date financial statements, loan documents, and contracts. Store these and all of your backed-up business records in the cloud or on external hard drives to keep them safe. Tax records should be backed up too. Scan your W-2s, tax returns, and other tax-related documents and convert them to an electronic format. Where’s a “safe” place to store your files on external hard drives? Logic dictates that it’s not in or around your place of business. After all, having originals and duplicates in the same place doesn’t help if that place is damaged or destroyed.
2. Document valuables and equipment.
Inventory and document the physical assets of your operation. This step will make things a lot easier should you ever have to make casualty loss claims with your insurance company.
3. Take action on financial planning
It’s crucial for businesses to take the proper steps necessary when it comes to their financial planning. Always be sure to check on fiduciary bonds by asking your provider if a bond is in place. This option can protect you in the event of default by your payroll service provider. You should not only assess your liquidity requirements but also plan to meet current debt obligations and immediate continuing expenses like salaries and rent. Don’t forget to assess your insurance policies—especially your business interruption policies.
4. Create a continuity plan.
5. Keep your emergency plan up-to-date.
Emergency planning is not a one-and-done situation. Your plan should be updated annually to reflect changes in business and personnel. Just as important is to hold employee meetings on a regular basis to review the emergency plan. Things to consider with your emergency plan:
If there is a disaster in your area and you are affected, the IRS can provide previously filed tax returns and all attachments, including Forms W-2.
Not sure what financial records you should backup in the event of a disaster? Contact CRI’s business consultants for help walking you through the whole process and preparing all of the necessary documents for safe storage.
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