Small Business Tips for Disaster Preparedness from The Anywhere Office
August 25, 2011 by Phil Montero
With our first named storm bearing down this season (Hurricane Irene) and a recent earthquake in the Washington, DC area it’s the yearly wake-up call for small businesses to start thinking about business continuity and disaster preparedness. I prefer to talk about it from this perspective, ‘continuity’ and ‘preparedness’, rather than “disaster recovery”. With a smart, flexible business structure in place, hopefully you won’t need much recovery. Instead, you are fluid and can simply roll with whatever comes along. If you work in The Anywhere Office – you’re mobile and can communicate and collaborate across time and distance. You can work where and when you need to – just like you do every day.
Not quite there yet? That’s OK – you’re not alone – and we’ve got you covered!
Below are some useful disaster preparedness resources including websites, an episode of our radio show, a free business continuity teleseminar, and some recommended tools to help you weather any storm.
AUDIO (Radio Show Archive):
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail (Business Continuity in the Changing World of Work)
There are many potential obstacles that can interrupt a company’s ability to do business as usual: inclement weather, natural disasters, special events, transit strikes, and skyrocketing transportation costs just to name a few. In this episode from our radio show archive we took a look at the differences between business continuity and disaster recovery as well as some strategies and technology to help you and your organization prepare. Jason and I talk with Brian Donahoo of Citrix Online, makers of GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting, to explore how aspects of the digital lifestyle can address and overcome these obstacles. As the Zen proverb says . . . The obstacle is the path.
Riding the Storm Out (Tips to develop a business continuity plan)
Consider this, almost 40% of small businesses that close due to a disaster event never re-open.
What would you do if the building your business is located within was damaged or destroyed in a disaster? Where would you go to continue providing your business services? Would you have the resources, databases, contact information and other necessary items to adapt to these changes?
The best time to respond to any disaster is before it happens. A well thought out business continuity or disaster recovery plan can ensure that you are prepared for any contingency. Our panel of South Florida experts discuss best practices, strategies, and tools to ensure your business can weather any storm or business interruption.
The website for The Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Campaign. This site has comprehensive information about all aspects of Disaster Planning, Business Continuity, and Continuity of Operations planning. It is broken down into 3 main areas Ready America, Ready Business, and Ready Kids.
National Hurricane Survival Initiative
A coalition of a number of organizations including National Hurricane Center, National Emergency Management Association, The Salvation Army, and others. This is an exceptional site – well designed and full of resources.
Office Depot’s Disaster Preparedness Strategy
An excellent collection of articles and resources on how small business owners can prepare for unplanned interruptions. This site will get you up to speed and help prevent a crisis from becoming a full-fledged disaster.
The official site of Hurricane Preparedness Week. Hosted by the NOAA and The National Weather Service.
Florida Division of Emergency Management website about Business Disaster Planning. They have an online tool that walks you through creating a Business Disaster Plan in about 15 minutes.
MOBILE WORK AND VIRTUAL OFFICE SERVICES I RECOMMEND:
GoToMyPC Remote Access Service
Even if something prevents you from making it to the office, you can use your office PC just as if you were sitting in front of it. For a free trial CLICK HERE.
GoToMeeting Web Meeting and Conferencing
Web conferencing can be used for team meetings, webinars, sales demos, training, consulting, brainstorming, and much more. No worries if the office is closed due to storms or inclement weather. You and your clients and co-workers can even collaborate on documents in real time.
Skype (Audio and Video Conferencing/Screen Sharing):
One of the best tools for web-based video and audio conferencing. Even has simple screen sharing and it’s Free!. If a disaster or storm prevents travel or anytime you work with others across distance – add this to your toolbox! To learn more about the power of skype check out my article “How to Embrace Skype to be a True-Blue Mobile Entrepreneur” over at VirtualBusinessLifestyle.com.
Regus BusinessWorld Gold Card (6 months free)
Having to evacuate, or losing access to your office or workplace are only a couple of the scenarios where a virtual office or touch down space can be an invaluable resource. Regus is the world’s largest provider of outsourced workplaces for businesses of any size. A Regus businessworld Gold card gives you many privileges, including complimentary access any of their 1,100+ global business lounges and cafés, with complimentary internet and refreshments.
CLICK HERE to get a FREE 6 Month Regus Businessworld Gold Card
Wi-Fi Center and Hotspot Locator
If you’ve lost internet service at home or the office use our Wi-Fi center to find hotspots so you can get online from coffee shops, airports, bookstores, cafes, and other public locations. Quickly find a place to use your laptop, tablet, or mobile device and get online.
I hope this collection of disaster preparedness and business continuity resources and tips helps you develop a more flexible business approach so you can deal with whatever emergencies or business interruptions might come your way. With some forethought and a strategy you can ensure that you are prepared.