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Coping With Disaster: What Is Your Strategy?

There is no doubt that the recent flooding throughout the South-East Queensland and Darling Downs regions has had (and will have) a massive impact upon residents, business owners and various industry sectors. Of concern in the commercial sphere is the ability of business owners to prepare for unforseen interruptions to their business and to reduce consequential economic loss.
This article will highlight the importance of implementing a business continuity plan in to your business for the purpose of ensuring the ongoing operation of your business in the face of a natural disaster. While there are many considerations to make when preparing your business for a natural disaster, one consideration that is often overlooked is the implementation of a business continuity plan.
What is a business continuity plan?
A business continuity plan is a document, which addresses the specific circumstances and requirements  of your business. It will provide practical strategies to follow in the event of  disaster such as flood, fire, storm, explosion, power outage or terrorism. A well prepared business continuity plan will provide a sound understanding of how your business operates, the risks it faces and the things that need to be done to ensure you recover from an incident. Typically, a Disaster Backup Agreement will be integrated in to a business continuity plan. This document is a mutual agreement between two parties for the purpose of assisting the party affected by disaster to carry on business with minimum disruption.
Disaster Backup Agreements often create an obligation from the ‘host’ party to the ‘affected’ party to provide minimum resources, including access to office space and furniture, business equipment, specific technology and software and personnel. Access to these resources will ensure that the affected party continues operation of its business with limited disruption, reducing the possibility of lost business profits and minimising the adverse impact of a natural disaster upon its business.
Implementing a business continuity plan
The implementation of a business continuity plan in to your business risk management strategy is a crucial step to take. Business insurance alone will not be enough to ensure the continued operation of your business during a crisis. However, implementing a business continuity plan in to your business is not a simple task and involves considerable planning. Some steps for action are:

  • The consultation of employees to identify what may constitute a disaster for your business;
  • The establishment of a business continuity plan team to carry out the plan in the event of a disaster;
  • Checking to ensure that your business insurance is current;
  • The consideration of I.T requirements;
  • Planning for an alternate premises; and
  • Routine revision of your business continuity plan to ensure its currency.

However most importantly, you should test your business continuity plan to ensure that it will be effective in the event of a disaster. This may be achieved by carrying out a ‘dry run’, which will assist in identifying whether or not you have overlooked any key issues in establishing your plan. Learning of an oversight in your business continuity plan during a disaster would be a disaster in itself.
Preparing your business for a disaster is best completed before a disaster occurs. The time and expense associated with implementing a business continuity plan in to your business represents a wise investment as how quickly your company becomes operational after a disaster is contingent upon the planning you do now. We recommend that you implement a business continuity plan in to your business now as every business owner should be aware of how they will manage their business in emergency circumstances.
Very few businesses are prepared for natural disasters…is yours?