Small Business Reading Room

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

In the event of an emergency, are you prepared for business as usual?

You’ve finally achieved your dream. Don’t lose it to a power outage, hacker disruption, fire, earthquake or other disaster. If you’re not prepared, a disaster could put you and your employees at risk, possibly shutting down your business forever.

Did you know that roughly 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster? Don't let your business be one of them!

In an effort to encourage businesses to plan ahead, the SBA has teamed with Agility Recovery Solutions, and launched the Prepare My Business Web site. Prepare My Business provides tips on how small business owners can develop their own disaster preparedness plans, and features interactive tools such as monthly webinars on business continuity planning.

“It is critical that small businesses have a written disaster preparedness plan in place so that they are ready to deal with the challenges that often come without notice, and get their businesses back up and running” said Administrator Mills.

Disaster preparedness for businesses should include:

  • A written emergency response plan. Find evacuation routes from your home or business and establish meeting places. Make sure everyone understands the plan beforehand. Keep emergency phone numbers handy. Business owners should designate a contact person to communicate with other employees, customers and vendors.

  • Adequate insurance. Disaster preparedness begins with having adequate insurance coverage, at least enough to rebuild your business. Business owners should review their policies to see what is not covered. Businesses should consider “business interruption insurance,” which helps cover operating costs during the post-disaster shutdown period. Flood insurance is essential. To find out more about the National Flood Insurance Program, visit the Web site at

  • Making copies of important records. It’s a good idea to back up vital records and information saved on computer hard drives, and store those items at a distant offsite location. Computer data should be backed up routinely. Copies of important documents should be kept in fire-proof safe deposit boxes.

  • A “Disaster Survival Kit.” The kit should include a flashlight, a portable radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, non-perishable packaged and canned food, bottled water, a basic tool kit, plastic bags, cash, and a disposable camera to take pictures of the property damage.

  • In addition to the Prepare My Business site, more preparedness tips for businesses are available on the SBA’s Web site. To learn more about developing an emergency plan, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Web site, or call 1-800-BE-READY to receive free materials.



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