How Businesses Can Prepare

Could Your Small Business Withstand a Disaster

The sad fact is that most businesses can't. Recent North American studies reveal that 43% of businesses that experience a disaster never re-open and that another 29% close within two years.

Fortunately, most small businesses in Maple Ridge will never experience a major disaster. However, even though the likelihood of a cataclysmic event such as an earthquake or flood may seem remote, these events can and do occur. Every year, BC experiences hundreds of small earthquakes; a massive flood in 2013 caused over $6 billion in damages to Calgary and 30 surrounding communities; a train derailment and explosion in 2013 devastated the town of Lac Megantic in Quebec. These events, while rare, can devastate communities, their residents and businesses.

Tips for Businesses

When it comes to business continuity planning, non-profit organizations face unique challenges. An emergency or disaster can mean an increased demand for service and can result in significant operational pressures on your organization.
Much more common are smaller disaster such as fires, water damage from burst pipes, and technology and communications failures. These events can result in businesses being forced to suspend operations for days, weeks or even months. The irony is that what makes small businesses successful - fewer employees, lean production and inventory systems, tight cash flow management - often makes them the least able to withstand these events.

Fortunately, a small investment of your time in business continuity planning can help your business survive.

7 Steps for Preparing Your Emergency and Disaster Plan

Step 1) Establish an Emergency Preparedness team
Step 2) Identify Essential Services/Functions
Step 3) Identify Risks and Assess Impacts
Step 4) Make a Plan
Step 5) Educate Employees
Step 6) Exercise Your Plan
Step 7) Recovery & Restoration

Develop a Business Continuity Plan

Will you be ready when an emergency strikes? Remember that you may not have power, Internet access or access to your business. It's critically important to develop Business Continuity manuals for all of your key staff and store copies of these off-site. There are numerous free resources available to help you get started in developing your Business Continuity manuals; Business Development Canada publishes an excellent template that will guide you through the process of developing your strategy and manual. (Business Continuity Plan and Templates for Entrepreneurs)

Justice Institute of BC offers an Intro to Business Continuity course on-line. Explore the purpose and benefits of business continuity management including the steps involved in developing a business continuity plan. In addition,
you will learn the importance of communicating and exercising a business continuity plan.