As I re-read the last post and gave a bit more thought on the distasteful topic of ‘disaster preparedness’, I realized that disaster can mean something very different to each business. In our business, we take seriously our commitment to 100% ‘up’ time and so we have taken incredible measures to back-up our back-ups and have redundant redundancies !! I realized that, even though most businesses do not require that level of preparedness, each business requires some level of preparedness…..
I also realized that disaster is spelled very differently for each business. Here is a definition of disaster: A sudden calamitous event bringing great damage, loss or destruction; a sudden or great misfortune or failure. Sometimes even the most inconsequential events can create a disaster. What we need to realize is that many times, with minimal advance planning, many disasters can be avoided!!
Not all ‘disasters’ are created equal…. Here are a few examples of events that may be a tragedy to one business but, to another, it is barely a blip on the radar. Think about which of these might impact your customers in a big way:
- A backhoe digs up a cable down the street and you have no phone service. It will be 3 days before you can expect service to be reinstated.
- Your office complex receives a bomb threat and everyone needs to evacuate.
- Your front desk person has emergency surgery and will be out for 6 weeks.
- Lightning strikes and takes out your phone system.
- There is a fire in your building and, although the building is not destroyed, you are unable to occupy the office area until the cleanup is finished.
- You are a one-person company and your family will disown you if you don’t go on vacation with them.
- Your company plans quarterly events and the receptionist is overwhelmed when it is time to accept the responses.
- A snowstorm dumps 2 feet of snow on the area and only 2 out of 15 employees can get into work.
Obviously, all of these calamities need to be dealt with differently and all have diverse solutions and various levels of pre-planning!
Take 15 minutes of time…have a cup of coffee, and sit and think… Conjure up the things that you would prefer not to think about. What wakes you up at 3am or makes you cringe when you hear about it on the news? Make a list from the annoying to the unimaginable……and then make another list of people you can talk to that may be able to help. Don’t forget to include your staff; they may have the best ideas going or may be willing to help in ways you would never imagine.
Don’t forget to call your phone company, electrician, generator supply company, phone system vendor and your answering service! Think outside the box….. outsourced, off-site and remote alternatives may be easier to achieve than you could ever imagine! Don’t allow your failure to plan to become your client’s emergency!