New Report Reveals Small Businesses Especially Vulnerable to Damage by Extreme Weather

According to a recent report by the Small Business Majority (SBM) and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), small businesses are particularly at risk of damage from extreme weather due to their lack of access to capital and resources.

Small businesses are also at a disadvantage because the majority operate out of a single physical location, and 90 percent of their business is made up of the population within 2 miles from their doors. This causes these businesses to be especially vulnerable to loss and technological or telecommunications failures.

Storm brewing over power line, grassy field
Because of their increased risk, it would seem safe to assume that small businesses would take extra precautions to protect themselves from the dangers of severe weather.

Unfortunately, the report revealed just the opposite, stating that 57 percent of small businesses have no disaster recovery plans whatsoever. Of the 43 percent that have plans in place, 90 percent spend less than one day a month preparing or maintaining them.

Luckily, there are several precautionary steps that your small business can take to help curb the effects of extreme weather and other disastrous situations.

Define What a Disaster Means to Your Business

Often it is the small-scale disasters, rather than regional natural disasters, that will affect your business. An electrical fire, power outage, flooded office or failed hard drive with no backup can force you to send employees home and hang up your closed sign. When incorporating a disaster recovery vendor into your plan, make sure they give you the flexibility to define a disaster and the option to declare some or all of your recovery solutions.

Devise a Plan of Action

It’s important to plan for total destruction, because after a disaster, you and your employees may be unable to access your office building or the critical equipment inside. Because the majority of small businesses operate out of a single location, it’s smart to consider having a mobile workspace delivered that will help keep daily operations up and running. Business owners should also store files at an off-site location to protect vital information from being destroyed. 

Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Many small business owners fail to realize that testing their disaster recovery plan is just as imperative as creating the plan. By testing the plan and procedures at least once a year, you can fill in the gaps of the plan and identify additional recovery needs you might not have seen on paper.

For a more detailed checklist of what to include in your business's disaster recovery plan, check out our Business Continuity Plan Checklist.

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