Tips: Resolve to Be Better Prepared This Year

By resolving to put a disaster protection and recovery plan in place for the New Year, business owners stand a much better chance of achieving their other areas of resolve, such as improving financial performance.

According to the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), one of every four businesses forced to close following a disaster never reopens. And those disasters don't have to be caused by catastrophe-level events. Widespread power outages, water main breaks and fires also can effectively shut down a company for a long period, sometimes months, costing it millions of dollars in lost business, some or all of it never to return.

That's why IBHS encourages business owners to resolve to be better prepared in 2008 by putting together a disaster plan and offers a free copy of its Open for Business® toolkit to kick start the process. The toolkit provides the framework to help prioritize critical business functions and organize information needed to continue operating -- even from a remote location.

"Contingency planning is a core part of running any successful business. Failing to plan is placing an unnecessary bet on the survival of your business and your employees' livelihoods," said IBHS President and CEO Julie Rochman. "Fortunately, business owners and senior managers can greatly tilt the odds in their favor, even in the face of disaster. Open for Business&reg includes some fairly simple, low-cost steps that can help -- saving jobs and allowing the company to continue being there for customers and suppliers."

These are the top five business continuity planning steps offered by IBHS:

  1. Make two copies of important documents and store them in separate locations. These should include lease papers, photographs of property and lists of inventory.
  2. Update contact information for employees, the building manager or owner, key suppliers and customers, and local utilities.
  3. Consider an alternate location from which to do business if a disaster were to force you to relocate.
  4. Review plans with employees and make sure they know how to reach their immediate supervisor in an emergency.
  5. Assess current insurance needs with your agent and update their contact information, including emergency hotlines.

Download a copy of the Open for Business® toolkit from http://www.DisasterSafety.org or request a single copy by calling (866) 657-4247.

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