As another deadly storm ravages the Gulf coast, and we hold out hopes and prayers for those affected, we in Tampa Bay should be thankful that the winds have spared us yet again. Hurricanes are a way of life for us this time of year and are just one of several catastrophes that can affect your business. The financial cost of rebuilding after an event such as a hurricane can be overwhelming, but if your business is prepared, you’ll be in a better position to recuperate should the worst come to realization.
According to FEMA nearly half of all businesses don’t reopen following a disaster. Look at the business to the right of yours, now look at the one to the left: Statistically, one of those will cease to exist.
A failure to plan is a plan for failure. A business continuity plan can great reduce fiscal loss and should include all critical business documents, such as insurance policies, employee, client and vendor contacts, and passwords to any critical web-based software that you will need to work remotely during recovery.
A business continuity plan is so essential that the federal government requires it for specific industries. For example if your business is governed by HIPAA or any federal finance regulation, it is a prerequisite that you have a disaster recovery plan in place. In other circumstances the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may also require you to have a plan in place.
Another prodigious reason to have a business continuity plan in place is the ability to qualify for funding should you need financial assistance. Both FEMA and the SBA offer disaster funding in the form of loans and grants, but both will require a comprehensive to show how a business will use the money. If a disaster affects your business, you may qualify for to up to $2 million in for property damage, equipment, inventory and other costs, terms can extend to 30 years, but only if you qualify – and to qualify you need a plan.
The Small Business Administration, local OSHA office, or Chamber of Commerce can help if you are having trouble creating a business continuity plan. Simply stated, it’s one of the most critical things you can do for your business, and something I hope you will never use.
– Barry Rubin
Treasure Island & Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce