Posts Tagged ‘Business Continuity’

Small businesses spend hours planning their sales strategies and bouncing merchandising ideas but often overlook disaster recovery and business continuity planning.   Couple months ago one of my friends retail store got broken into.   Alarm went off and police arrived at the scene in about an hour.  Off course bad guys were long gone by then.    Police called the store owner but he didn’t pick up the phone.  

Everyone was shocked and surprised next morning when they found the front window broken.  Employee called police only to learn that break in happened last time and cops has already been there.  Office on the phone advised them not to touch anything in the store and just wait there until police take the finger print.   Four employees complied with police request and patiently waited outside the store.

After 6 hours of long wait, police officer arrived at the scene.   She took some finger prints from the door and asked the employees to take the store inventory.   Employees quickly crunched some numbers and gave their statement to police.  It was almost 7 Pm and time for everyone to go back home.  But everyone was wondering what to do with the broken window.   This debate took almost couple hours. Employees decided to put a wooden panel in front of the broken window.    Couple guys went to home depot, purchased the wooden panel and taped it to the broken window.   After 10 hours of ordeal employees went home.

Next morning, owner returned and learned about the situation.   After getting the situation under control he called me to discuss what has happened.  Here are the things we found:

  • Alarm Company only had owner as point of contact.
  • Employee didn’t know what do in case store had a break in.
  • There were no procedures in place to deal with the situation.

My friend lost about $500 in break in, $3500 in lost revenue and $800 in payroll.  This business could have saved over $4500 if they just had Business Continuity Plan in place.  How to deal with situation before it happens is the key part of Business Continuity Planning.   It should include step by step process for you and your staff to follow, covering such items as restoring data, phone service, website, POS system, Servers, Printers and all other essentials needed to restore your organization’s operational capability.

Your Disaster Recovery plan should also include the procedures to contact law enforcement, hospital, insurance company, vendors and anyone else involved with your company.   Often time, these procedures are forgotten and are very hard to find when needed. Therefore, it is also important to make multiple copies of these documents on intranet, in store manual and backup copies off site.

Staff should be initially trained and drill should be carried out to ensure that procedures can be followed in case of disaster.  In addition, reminders should be sent via email every couple months and regular training meetings should include the segment about disaster recovery.