Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Disaster plans

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     to help you better manage your small business.

     Fires, floods, burglaries can happen. The electric can go down for a week. A key employee can fall down stairs at home and be laid up for a month. Or your own health can become a problem.

     Running your own small business means that you are your own backup. This means you must have plans ready to implement when disasters strike.

     Example: Jim runs a small computing services firm with 3 employees. His firm monitors in real time the operating systems of larger firms that are his clients. Jim's firm can electronically repair computing problems remotely. One morning, the husband of a key employee called to say that his wife had fallen and broken her back. She would be laid up for several weeks. Now, with only two employees, Jim had to scramble to cover the work she had been performing. Today, she's back at work, and Jim is busily cross-training everyone to be able to handle each other's jobs.

     Example: Amy is a chiropractor. She built up her clientele to the point that she needed additional space. When she went looking for larger quarters, she was careful on two fronts. Some of her clients were unable to use stairs, so that was a prime consideration. Additionally, sometimes the river flooded out into the town. Amy found suitable space accessible by a ramp in a building that was several feet above ground level. Amy's careful planning paid off. When the river did indeed flood, her place was high and dry. 

     Example: Ella runs a small graphic arts firm. The business was going well when suddenly the landlord informed her that she had 60 days to vacate the premises. The lease gave the landlord that option, but Ella had negotiated a clause to protect herself. In the event the landlord wanted her to vacate, Ella would receive a buyout amount of money. Since she had two years remaining on the lease, she received a substantial payout. She used the money to move and buy new equipment. The disruption was significant, but Ella turned disaster into a positive growth option. 

     Thinking ahead can help you sleep better at night. Planning for the unthinkable can help you and your small business sail through the disasters that come your way. Now, what do you do when the electric goes down for a week?

     Fire and flood, even key employees, can be covered by insurance. But your best insurance can be in your planning ahead for any eventuality.    

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