Disaster can strike a business at any time and can manifest itself in many ways. From a natural disaster such as flooding or extreme weather event, to an accidental fire or explosion, or a deliberate human act of sabotage or terrorism – the fact is, it’s impossible to know when, where or what might happen that has a detrimental impact on your business. However, while you can’t control these disastrous incidents, you can put recovery plans in place to manage your response.
How a business responds to a disaster, particularly in the first 24 hours, could determine how well it recovers and survives longer term. So, what should your disaster plan for the first 24 hours look like? What are your priorities?
Cutting to the chase, there are probably four key priorities in the immediate aftermath of a business disaster:
Your staff: Your first priority should be to make sure everyone is safe and accounted for. Hopefully you have evacuation procedures in place in the event of a physical disaster, such as a fire at your business premises. Regular tests should help to ensure everyone knows where their nearest fire exit is located and where to congregate safely.
Your business equipment and contents: Your next priority should be to recover as many of your physical business assets as you can. But this should only be done if it is safe to do so. It is not worth putting yourself or any of your employees at risk to rescue a few computers or office equipment.
Your customers: As soon as you know that your staff are safe and you have recovered as many of your physical business assets as you can, start calling your customers. Prioritise those that are the most important to you, either because of their loyalty, the value of their business or the volume of their sales. Part of your disaster recovery plan should include a customer database that holds this information alongside all their contact details. Your customers are your lifeblood and it’s important that you are able to reassure them that you will still be able to fulfil orders. The faster you get in touch with them the better. It is no exaggeration to say that we are aware of cases where a competitor, seeing that one of their rivals has experienced a disaster, contacts their customers, within hours of disaster striking, in an attempt to lure them away. If this happens to you, it could be very difficult to re-build your customer base once you’re back up and running. This would have a significant impact on the speed of your business recovery.
Sourcing temporary business premises: It’s all very well to make a few important phone calls in the aftermath of a disaster from your mobile out in the open but ideally you will want to find alternative business premises as quickly as possible. This will enable you to get essential office functions and IT systems back up and running and mean your business can continue with some semblance of normality.
If you’ve read this and are now worried that you are not fully prepared for such an eventuality, and even if you think you have got all your ducks in a row, help is at hand. First Recovery are a specialist disaster recovery business, ready to step in and support you in the immediate hours after a business disaster. If you call them before midday, they will have a Disaster Event Manager with you before the end of that day and have you set up in alternative business premises close by, within 24 hours.
Why not give the team a call today to find out more about the services they provide?