From storms, fires, cyber-attacks, natural disasters and man-made calamities like data breaches, there’s a lot that could go wrong for your small business. No matter how small or large your business, creating a disaster recovery plan is necessary. This plan is a document that details how your business will recover from a catastrophic event. Once you create a disaster recovery plan, review it yearly.

Here are eight actions to consider when planning for a disaster:

  1. Analyze Risks and Create a Checklist

    Learn about the specific types of hazards your business is likely to face. Then begin walking through the steps you would take if disaster were to strike. Your disaster planning checklist should include sections on communications, data, employees, operations and safety.

  2. Get Help from Disaster Experts

    Sign up for the American Red Cross Ready Rating program. This free, self-guided program is designed to help businesses, organizations and schools become better prepared for emergencies. 

  3. Stockpile Emergency Supplies

    If extreme weather strikes, you and your employees could find yourselves stuck in your business unexpectedly. Your disaster recovery plan should include creating an emergency kit that contains enough non-perishable food, bottled water and other supplies to last multiple people for 72 hours. Your kit should also include things like a can opener, flashlights, batteries and first-aid supplies.

  4. Create a Disaster Recovery Team

    Choose a small group of employees who will take action in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Assign one employee to be the crisis manager and choose a backup. Assign other employees to work on the team, too. Then, meet with these employees and outline their roles and responsibilities.

  5. Create a Communications Strategy

    You’ll need to think through how you’ll communicate with your customers and clients. Your disaster recovery plan should include both low-tech and high-tech options. These range from notices outside your business, contacting clients by phone and posting updates on your social media channels and via newsletters and email.

  6. Plan to Protect Your Data

    As part of your disaster recovery plan, you’ll want to invest in a data backup and disaster recovery system (BDR). This type of system is vital because it will protect you in a natural disaster but also in the event of a cyber-attack. A BDR ensures that a catastrophe won’t wipe out your data and will help minimize your downtime.

  7. Test Your Plan

    Put your disaster recovery plan to the test and conduct a trial run. See how quickly your team responds. Conducting a test run can help you understand where you and your team need to make improvements.

  8. Review Your Insurance Coverage

    Insurance coverage is a must for any company. It’s important to meet with your Farm Bureau agent and routinely review your coverage. Your agent can help ensure there are no gaps in your coverage and that you have the protection you need should a disaster strike.