Calculate costs of disaster prep using business planning software

2013-10-11T21:17:42-04:00

When businesses are hit by unexpected disasters, such as flooding or fires, it can be hard to recover if they are not adequately prepared. Companies must invest in proper planning and implementation of risk management procedures to ensure they can recover from destructive weather phenomena or other accidents. Calculate these costs using business budgeting software to maintain expenses related to assessing and protecting against risks.

When planning for future disasters, businesses should look past the sticker shock of disaster prep costs, according to Business Week.

While the preparation process for potentially damaging events may seem overwhelming, businesses can view it as a step-by-step processes. Bob Boyd, president of disaster recovery services provider Agility Recovery, suggests businesses start by going over the Small Business Administration's disaster planning website.

The SBA cites the Institute for Business and Home Safety, which said approximately 25 percent of businesses are shut down as a result of a major disaster. On its disaster planning webpage, the administration recommends businesses evaluate their risks of disasters and develop procedures that will not only prepare them for disasters but help them recover afterward. Businesses should secure their corporate tax and financial records as well as equipment that may be damaged. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also offers a guide for business recovery for medium to large businesses. 

Assess risks and calculate costs associated with risk management
Boyd said businesses must assess the potential challenges involved with bouncing back, including loss of power, communications and property.

"If you can take phone calls and keep production going, you'll be light years ahead of your competitors," Boyd told Business Week. "Your customers will never come back to you if your business fails them. But everyone will come to you – and they'll never leave – if you prove your business to be successful and trustworthy."

To prepare for power outages, purchase a generator that can run electricity to the business to help it stay operational after disasters. Maintaining communication with employees is important, whether it's via phone, text or social media. Employers should ensure their workers know how to contact them in the event of an emergency. Save contact information and print out hard copies to keep in several locations. Businesses should also figure out an alternative place to operate their business if their current location is unavailable following a hurricane or other disaster.

"If your office is dark and unconnected, your home may be also," Boyd said. "Come up with some remote locations where you can relocate temporarily, perhaps setting up a reciprocal arrangement with a business or a friend in another city."

Investing in business insurance can help pay for the financial costs of disasters. Property insurance can cover expenses related to damage sustained by buildings, equipment and other physical items during destructive incidents. To know which policies are the most affordable, companies can purchase business planning software to project the costs of premiums and policies. If their needs change, they can adjust their calculations using the software and purchase a new policy if necessary.