Business owners invest a tremendous amount of time, money and resources to make their ventures successful, so it would seem natural for owners to take steps to protect those investments.
While the importance of emergency planning may seem self-evident, the urgency of the task is often blunted by the immediate demands of the workplace. Also, owners and managers may have only a nominal idea of the risks their business faces or possess only a limited understanding of steps they can take to reduce the potential impacts of disasters.
Last but not least, the business person is prone to the all-too-human tendency to believe that “it won’t happen to me.” In the meantime, businesses will continue to suffer setbacks that often could have been reduced or prevented altogether had someone taken the time to plan.
We all recognize that disaster can strike anywhere, at any time. The business mentor must convey that emergency planning is an integral part of any successful business plan.
Consider the following:
- An estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety.
- The number of declared major disasters more than doubled in the 1990s.
- A business can be hurt indirectly when disaster strikes customers or another business, such as a supplier or distributor.
- OSHA requires that most businesses with 10 or more employees have a written emergency plan.
- The realities of a post-9/11 world and an increasing dependency on computer technology call for additional protection of business operations.
- The 9/11 Commission emphasized the critical importance of preparedness in protecting business assets and safeguarding employees’ lives.
“Private-sector preparedness is not a luxury; it is a cost of doing business in the post-9/11 world. It is ignored at a tremendous potential cost in lives, money, and national security.”
9/11 Commission Final Report, Chapter 12
By applying knowledge of Ready Business preparedness techniques and drawing on their own expertise, mentors can help small business owners and operators with what might seem like a daunting organizational task.
|The above is an excerpt adapted from the article, “National Preparedness Month: Why Develop an Emergency Plan?” For more information, please visit www.ready.gov.