When Disaster Strikes
Business Disaster
A Little Advance Planning Can Save a World of Trouble

I will never forget that gut-wrenching Monday morning, back in the mid-1970s, when I drove into my company’s parking lot and saw the burned-out shell of a building.

That was all that was left.

The fire had been so hot that the typewriters had melted onto the desks. All of our books and records were scattered in shards.

No one had warned me about what had happened the night before, and as the financial department employees congregated,  no one could even comprehend what it would take to reconstruct information on more than  2,000 customers.

What it took was almost two years of working six days a week, sifting through ashes and bits of paper  while working out of a warehouse facility. It was years before the stench of the ashes and soot came out of our clothes.

We were not prepared and it was a nightmare. It was a nightmare that you can avoid.

Fortunately, most businesses today are fully computerized.  However, many are not paperless.  To be honest, I went kicking and screaming into the paperless era,  and still cannot say that I am 100% paper-free. But I can assure you that all of my most important documents are now in electronic format or in a safe deposit box.  And yours need to be too.

You need to save your documents onto your hard drive, or on a server, and back up your information on a regular basis.  That back up information then needs to be kept off site so that it can be accessed and reconstructed easily at another location.

Scan your most important documents into an electronic format which you can then store on a flash drive or a CD.

There are online services that will automatically back up all of your computer files and store them at one or more offsite locations. They will also encrypt those sensitive documents to guard against disclosure or theft.

You have to do whatever it takes to keep your documents secure and available to you should a disaster strike.

I know of some clients who have videotaped every room of their offices or their warehouses, and keep that tape off-site to ensure a recording of all of their assets. This will aid you with any insurance claims as well as with any casualty losses that you might deduct with the Internal Revenue Service.

Be sure that your company has a disaster plan. Some things you need to consider: how to notify all members of the firm; where everyone will meet to keep the business going; where to redirect the phone calls and who will answer them; who is in charge of monitoring emails. In fact, you need a clear plan of responsibilities for maintaining all aspects of the business to keep it functioning.

This year has seen an unbelievable number and variety of disasters across the country, including flooding, crippling snowstorms, wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes.

It would make sense to have a means of receiving and monitoring severe weather conditions.  I have a NOAA Weather Radio in my office.

I always err on the side of caution, and if I believe that my employees could be endangered, I will release them early or allow them to work from home.  A few hours of lost production or sales  are meaningless compared to the value of your people and their morale. Too many employers don’t realize that.

You never know when disaster could strike your business. Be prepared, have a plan and be ready so that if it strikes you will be back in business in short order, with minimal loss of activity.

I assure you that sifting through piles of ashes is not fun.



When Is the Best Time to Quit Your Job? 8 Considerations

When Is the Best Time to Quit Your Job? 8 Considerations

It's also essential to evaluate your situation, consider the impact on your career, and plan accordingly With many going through work burnout and so much fear around finding a new job, you might be wondering when the best time is to quit a job you hate. Truth is, the...

3 Tips To Keep People Engaged on Conference Calls

3 Tips To Keep People Engaged on Conference Calls

Time to change the "boring conference call", don't assume all conference calls have to be tedious and mundane. Conference calls are a way of life for most businesses. While convenient, they can be dreadfully boring and uninspiring.  Remember that all communication is...

Review is Critical to Small Business Success- 3 Recommendations

Review is Critical to Small Business Success- 3 Recommendations

Don't underestimate the critical process of review as it will align management to position your business for success.   Core to management and the success of any business is to establish benchmarks and map progress within predetermined periods of time. Here are...


Sign Up for the Latin Biz Today Newsletter

Video Gallery

PR Newswire

Featured Authors






Another Latina Small Business Recipe for Success

Another Latina Small Business Recipe for Success

Lilia Rojas Latina entrepreneur and owner of La Flor de Jalisco bakery has achieved success   Lilia Rojas takes an almost literal approach to running her business: the positive meaning of having her cake and eating it to. Perhaps that’s why her 14-year-old...






Work, Life & Culture


Health & Fitness

Travel & Destinations

Personal Blogs

Pin It on Pinterest