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Creating a Small Business Disaster Recovery Plan

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Last editedAug 20212 min read

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that businesses need to expect the unexpected in order to survive. But global pandemics aren’t the only things that could render your small business inoperable. Natural disasters, fires, or deliberate acts of sabotage and cybercrime are ever-present threats to your operation. When disaster strikes, your business needs to know exactly what to do, or it may never recover.

According to data from FEMA, between 40% and 60% of businesses never recover from a disaster, and 90% of small businesses that don’t reopen within five days of recovery go under within a year. Sobering statistics, to be sure! Make sure your SME doesn’t become one of them by creating a disaster recovery plan.

What is a disaster recovery plan?

A disaster recovery plan is a document that details the steps that you will need to take to bounce back from a catastrophic event. It is more specific in focus than a typical business continuity plan, although it should cover all eventualities that could make your premises unusable or your business inoperable. 

It’s not enough to just have a disaster recovery plan!

Many small businesses make the mistake of constructing a disaster recovery plan, but leave it untouched in a filing cabinet somewhere. Your business isn’t static, it’s constantly evolving and growing. Your disaster recovery plan should be, too. It should be updated, amended and tested regularly to ensure that it aligns with the necessary parameters for disaster recovery. Because these will inevitably change as your business grows. 

Creating a disaster recovery plan for your small business 

Now we’ve looked at what a disaster recovery plan needs to do. But how do you go about actually creating one? 

Here are some tips for building a small business disaster recovery plan that gets you back up and running quickly when the unthinkable happens.

Start by identifying and quantifying your goals

This may seem like a no-brainer. But your first step in creating a disaster recovery plan is to identify exactly what you want it to do, in certain and specific terms. Yes, your immediate goal should be to get your business operational as soon as possible. But your plan should also aim to:

  • Alleviate the concerns of investors and stakeholders

  • Include a schedule for testing and revision

  • Reduce the risk of repeat occurrences

  • Ensure that your business remains compliant while you try and get yourself back on your feet.

Communicate clearly

Your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum. In a catastrophic event, you’ll need to manage communications with your supply chain, your clientele and investors. People are likely to be sympathetic and supportive… but if you don’t keep them in the loop, you’ll find that their goodwill only lasts for so long.

Back up, back up!

Backing up is essential to business continuity in more ways than one. Constantly backing up your data and records is essential in the event of a natural disaster or cyber attack. But you’ll also need to have logistical backups in place. For instance, you’ll need to have backup solutions in place for businesses in your supply chain that will be affected by your new circumstances. If you leave clients or dependent companies high and dry, they may not welcome you back with open arms once you’re on your feet again. 

We can help

If you’re interested in finding out more about disaster recovery planning, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with the financial experts at GoCardless. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

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