By:  Carol Nibley

Take a moment to answer the following questions—and possibly save your business:

  1. Do you have a plan in place to replace every key employee in your company?
  2. Is your technology backed up regularly and stored in at least one different location?
  3. Could your business operations continue if an earthquake, fire, or other disaster made it impossible to work in one of your locations?
  4. Have you purchased adequate insurance coverage? (Do you know what “adequate” really is?)
  5. Is your building secure?

Business continuity planning is often overlooked as small-business owners deal with the important demands of each day. Any number of unexpected situations could arise that would immediately change how a business functions . . . at best. Unfortunately, some never survive serious challenges.
Here are a few suggestions to consider as you evaluate the risks to your businesses:

  • Cross-train your employees so that every position has more than one person who can do the job.
  • Identify employees who have potential to rise to the next levels of your organization and provide opportunities for them to prepare for these future roles. Encourage incumbents to mentor junior employees.
  • Have all employees sign IP and Confidentiality agreements to protect your business intellectual property. Include non-compete and non-solicitation clauses in these agreements.
  • Review the resources available to individuals and businesses on the American Red Cross and Be Ready Utah websites.
  • Organize an emergency response team and list the potential risks to your business. Then create a plan for managing these risks.
  • Invite an expert to inspect your office space for safety concerns. Several organizations conduct these audits for little or no cost, including the local chapters of the American Red Cross.
  • Conduct training for your managers and employees on safety and emergency response procedures.
  • Review your emergency response plan regularly and update it as needed.

Bottom Line: Make business continuity planning an important part of your long-term success strategy for success.

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