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Contingency/Disaster Planning

 

So everything is running smoothly around the office.  Does that ever make you more nervous than when it isnít?  I know in my own business that when things are going well, I usually have the uncomfortable sense that some crisis is about to occur.  If this sounds familiar, you may want to start right away on developing a contingency plan.

What is a contingency plan exactly?  Well, itís a thoughtful approach to those things you will have to deal with when (not if) something goes wrong.  You could skip this planning phase but you will still have to deal with the same issues.  Wouldnít you rather know before hand how you would respond to the problems instead of having to do it ďon the flyĒ?

So how do you know what to plan for?  Well, that really depends on your business specifics.  My plan will look significantly different from yours.  Think about those things that would really impact your business in a big way.  What would you do for example, if the accountant (who is the only one with the password to the company computer books) wins the lottery and heads for some beach in the Caribbean without telling you? 

You might choose to include some or all of the following items in your list:

Fire                                                          Severe Storm/Flooding

Electrical/Telephone Outage                         Earthquakes

Computer Failure                                        Major Equipment Failure

Absence of Key Employee(s)                         Loss of Major Supplier

Loss of Master Keys to Facility                      Breach of Computer Passwords

Your list might include some or all of these as well as others unique to your business.

How do you develop a contingency plan?  Start by keeping a notepad near you for a couple weeks.  Write down how you conduct your business on a daily basis.  Keep notes on who and what you depend on most to keep your business moving along smoothly.  Think about what would happen if you lost access to these people and things and how you would handle that situation.

Thatís it!  You just developed, in itsí most basic form, a contingency plan.  Get as sophisticated with it as you want but get it written down, in the hands of the key people who would need access to it in a crisis, and oh yes, remember to revise it often!

Feel free to email us if you have questions or need some more information!

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