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4 Ways to help you deal with unexpected disasters in your business

Time and Unforeseen occurrences are the two things we cannot put on hold or prevent from happening, both in our personal lives and our businesses.

It is hard to stop something that you cannot see coming.

Unexpected emergencies can happen in your business when you least expect them to, and once they do they will momentarily shut down operations, or even worse, put you out of business for weeks and force your customers to go elsewhere — and stay there.

We might think that our location or country can make us untouchable by other disasters cause by nature, but one way or another, something unexpected will happen eventually. A power outage knocks out and fries your computers; or a key employee is badly injured in an accident, a fire might ravage your stock and building or you could deal with a horrible theft.

When this happens, are you and your business ready for this?

As your business is critical to your financial well being, it is important to plan for these events so you can respond and recover quickly. You may not stop it but you can cushion the effect, and here’s how:

Try to predict what could go wrong

The best way to deal with a disaster is to avoid it. What you have to aim to do, is to try and prevent it before it even occurs. If you can’t prevent it, then prepare for it.

In order to achieve this you should conduct what is called a risk assessment on your business. This assessment will identify what could go wrong, the effect on your business if something does go wrong, and what priority you should take in minimizing your risk exposure.

This assessment will allow you to identify and learn what risks your business is exposed to. It will let you know to what extent the damage caused, if these threats where to occur, would be.

Each business in each industry is different. But one thing that ALL businesses have is that they all carry a certain amount of risk.

Therefore, each risk assessment will be different and will be conducted differently.

Once you have identified each threat, find the risk exposure for each threat. The higher the risk exposure, the more it’s worth your while to protect yourself from that threat…

Make sure you are able to provide quick responses

Well in the event that an unpredicted disaster occurs, you must be able to be quick to respond.

Yes the shock might confuse and rattle you, but it is vital for your business to get back on its feet.

In order for a swift response to be possible, you need to have an emergency plan in place that will be able to help you deal with the threats you’ve identified in step one. Some of the components of your plan will be prescribed by law, regulations or a good business sense.

All your procedures should be documented in writing.

Once you get the basic emergency action plan written, tell your employees! Make sure they know what’s expected of them in an emergency — in any kind of emergency.

Share your response protocols if you can, especially your evacuation procedures, with the local fire department, emergency medical service and police department.

Provide the training for your employees in order for them to be able to implement the plan properly. And work with the authorities if need be to help you train your employees.

It does not matter how trivial you might think a threat is, prepare for it. You might think losing an employee would be an easy matter to deal with, but other companies have lost a huge part of their business revenue and customers due to the loss of one single employee.

So don’t assume, plan!

Reach out to your customers

Your customers are part of your business. Let them know what is happening and what you are doing to sort the problem out.

Communicating with your customers is very important and it will help you avoid losing them due to the disruption in your business.

Letting them know what is going on will assure them that you are trust worthy and it might also make them more confident in you.

Make sure you communicate the important details of the business that will affect them. Let them know how long you will be down or if you can still serve them.

This act will go a long way in building your customer loyalty.

Get back!

Once you have managed and mitigated the disaster, it is time to make your comeback. Take the time to think about the worst-case scenario and make some plans for how you’ll recover.

What will it take for you to get back into business quickly? How long will it take you to get back?

Thoroughly assess the situation you are in by asking yourself such questions:

· Can you and your team work remotely?

· How will you recover your critical data — the computers or original documents damaged by water or fire?

· Where can you get replacement equipment and computers?

· Do you need a new location to operate from?

· Do you need a new employee?

· How bad has your reputation suffered?

· Do you have any insurance claims on any of the stock and assets lost?

They are a number of questions you could use to assess the situation. And once you do so, take one step at a time in order for you to recover.

Conclusion

Anything can happen at any time in your business that can derail you or make you go out of business.

They are no guarantees in business.

If you want to stay in business and keep up with everyone else it is up to you to prepare an adequate plan and put in place to help you survive your worst moments.

It is possible to survive the worst of the worst, plan for it.

Has your business ever survived a difficult unexpected disaster? How did you deal with it? Leave a comment and share your thoughts in the section below.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 297,332+ people.

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