by Matt Alderton | September 13, 2017
Harvey and Irma have done a number on the United States. They weren't the first natural disasters to strike the nation, however, and they certainly won't be the last. As the country engages in post-hurricane cleanup, therefore, now is the perfect time for business owners to think ahead to Mother Nature's next tantrum.
"In the wake of Hurricane Harvey … many entrepreneurs and business owners [are] questioning how they would recover from a natural disaster," says contributor Chris Meyer.

The answer, he says: Business owners need to have a written disaster recovery plan.

"A recovery plan is an essential tool for a business to have when a natural disaster strikes," Meyer states. "More importantly, a recovery plan is critical if your business is located in a high-risk area. You will want to include specifics that address the natural disasters common to the area. For example, if you live in an earthquake prone area, you may include different procedures than a business located in a flood zone."

Your plan should include, among other things, explicit instructions for what to do when disaster strikes.

"Specify various situations in which the plan should be used and have a detailed outline for each," Meyer advises. "Include step-by-step procedures that are easier to follow than general instructions. You will want to have the procedures listed in the exact order of execution. For example, for safety reasons, someone may need to shut off power or gas before proceeding with another step. The step-by-step procedures should be simple and straightforward so anyone can understand and execute them."

Instructions should include plans for business continuity, too. "[Your plan] should have detailed information and instructions about resuming business operations," Meyer continues. "It should also have a relocation plan (if necessary), list of alternate work locations, emergency management teams, and office equipment replacement instructions. Additionally, the alternate work locations should include the physical address, phone number, and special instructions (when applicable) for each."

The idea is simple: When disaster strikes, you'll be too stressed and emotional to make good decisions; writing a plan now that you can follow later will ensure you weather the storm successfully.

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Contact Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo with your "How To" ideas.