Business Disasters: 4 Ways to Protect Your Business When the Unexpected Occurs

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Business plans and policies aim to account for a business’s future: good and bad. But, when disaster occurs, a lot of businesses will scramble to make sense of the situation. There’s a lot that a business can prepare for, but disasters often occur at the most unexpected time in business.

When businesses can’t foresee a disaster, it’s impossible to stop it.

Going into disaster mode is the only option. But a little preparation ahead of time can help a business better withstand the disaster.

business disaster planning

1. Predict Disasters and Create Protocols

A major issue for businesses, especially small businesses, is that they don’t try to predict what can go wrong in business. Preventing disaster may be impossible, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare for disaster.

Restaurants, for example, may have a disaster plan in place if kitchen equipment, plumbing equipment or HVAC equipment stops working.

Starting out, a risk assessment is a good option.

  • Determine the risks your business faces
  • Categorize risks by ratings
  • Create protocols to manage risks

Risks can include anything, including the company’s only truck breaking down. In this case, an insurance plan with rental reimbursement may be an option.

For IT businesses, it’s wise to make use of computer inventory software to keep records of hardware inventory and reports in the event anything goes wrong.

Create protocols and measures to follow if any foreseeable disasters occur.

2. Respond to Disasters Rapidly

If a disaster occurs, you don’t want to sit there panicking while your customers don’t know what to do. You need to take immediate action and “make things right.” Honda is a great example of rapid response to a recall over airbags.

The airbags were recalled, and this is all Honda needed to do to alert consumers of the issue.

A rapid recall and replacement allowed the company to save their reputation and mixes into the next two points.

3. Reach Out to Customers Directly

Not only did Honda send out recall notices, but the company also decided to go door-to-door to check vehicles. The company knew that some owners would ignore the recall notice. So, instead of waiting for disaster to occur, the company sent out technicians to Honda owner homes that hadn’t been in to have the airbag replaced on impacted vehicles.

It’s a response that went above-and-beyond the company’s call of duty, but they did what was right for owners of their vehicles.

Reaching out to customers may have saved lives, and it definitely put Honda in a positive spotlight among owners.

4. Continue on With Business

Disaster can either sink a business, or a business can be strengthened by a disaster. It’s important to take this time to reflect on your business’ operations and get back to work. You’ll need to find ways to recover, but it’s through these adversaries that a business grows stronger.

When you’ve done everything in your power to mitigate the issue and reach out to consumers, you’ll often find that they’ll still come back to your business.

But if you don’t own up to the issue, ignore the customer and let disaster have a negative impact on your operations, this is when an unexpected disaster has completely consumed your business.

Ryan Yarbrough is a small business consultant, speaker, and the manager at Davis Financial Services, a small business consulting firm.

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