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Surviving the End of the World
February 1st 2012 -

Sorry but I couldn’t resist capitalizing on the 2012 hysteria for an easy attention-grabbing headline!

Okay, so the article is not necessarily about the literal end of the world but it can seem like that, especially when your entire life and your business is at stake. You need to regularly ask yourself, “What is my contingency plan?” So often we watch the news and see tragedy strike, sometimes even within our own region, and yet we don’t think it could happen to us or at least that we would have enough advance notice to adequately prepare. The reality is that life is hardly ever that favorable.

Here’s a short list of those items you need in your business emergency preparedness kit:

  1. Photocopies of Identification Cards and Credit Cards
  2. Copies of all insurance policies (Life, Health, Property, etc)
  3. Copies of all property titles or leases
  4. List of important contacts (Family, employees, property managers, creditors and utilities, insurance agents and/or claims hotline)
  5. Recent backup of all business data (Accounting, Clients and Inventory)
  6. Recent copies of financial statements or backup of online statements
  7. Detailed plan of action that is shared with important individuals (i.e. family and friends living in the same region) of where you will go within the region or outside of the region in any given type of emergency or catastrophic event
  8. Extra cell phone, batteries and charger (AC or 12-volt charger)
  9. A solid security lockbox
  10. This is of course in addition to disaster preparedness kits containing the most essential food, water, medications and first aid supplies.

    The important thing is preparation in advance. If a sudden disaster strikes, you are not going to have the time or the foresight to run around gathering these things; therefore good fortune favors those who have prepared in advance.

    I would place the items in the above list into two categories: Response to Disaster and Recovery from Disaster. Response is represented by those things like the cell phone, contact list and detailed plan of action. When you’re piling the kids and pets in the car to make a hasty retreat, these are the items you need at that moment. The phone to call family and friends and let them know which emergency plan and route you are taking; also to reach out to employees to ensure they are alright and how they can reach you in the interim.

    Recovery on the other hand doesn’t come into effect until you plan to return home. This is where current copies of insurance and property paperwork come into play, along with contacts for utility companies, creditors and of course your financial institutions.

    When I worked with salon owners rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina, the difference between rebuilding and abandonment was all in the currency of their business data. It is a snapshot of the value of the business, the lost income, the inventory value and even a starting over point when customers are finally able to return to the newly-reopened business. The insurance companies could hardly argue with those owners who could prove the value of their business, whereas the claims of those with no ability to prove the worth of their business were settled for far less than it cost to even rebuild and they were forced to write off their entire business as a total loss. Taking steps today ensures that you don’t find yourself in the latter category.

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