Protect Your Small Business
Prepare An Emergency Plan Now!
Small businesses owners have received dramatic illustrations recently of the need to prepare for emergencies in the devastation caused by major hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires.
Hurricane Harvey gave little warning before it washed away homes and businesses with relentless floods in Texas. It was a terrible scenario. People died. Businesses closed. Employees displaced from their jobs and places of work. Millions impacted. Services disrupted. Economic losses caused by the natural disaster were expected to grow to the worst in our nation’s history. Thousands lost possessions accumulated through a lifetime.
Days later, as Hurricane Irma brought death and destruction to the Caribbean islands and people in Florida were preparing to evacuate, the southern part of Mexico was struck by the largest earthquake that nation had felt in a century. The 8.1 temblor was many times stronger than the San Francisco earthquake that killed 3,000 people in 1906. Fortunately, loss of lives and property damage were reduced because the earthquake was centered offshore, and the nearby area was not densely populated.
When Hurricane Irma finally struck Florida, its high winds and storm surge caused widespread damage on both coasts as the hurricane tore through the length of the state. Again, millions of homes were damaged, businesses destroyed, and millions left without electricity.
Then a conga line of other hurricanes sprung up to bring even more destruction to the Caribbean and threaten more damage in the United States.
On September 19, as Mexico marked the 32nd anniversary of the most deadly quake in its history, a 7.1 earthquake struck near Mexico City. Millions felt the shaking. Buildings collapsed. Electricity was cut off. Some 200 died with many more feared buried beneath the rubble.
Evidence of these disasters may linger for years. Worse yet, SBA officials have previously indicated that roughly 40 percent of small businesses that close following disasters never reopen their doors.
Would your firm or your clients’ businesses be prepared to get through or recover from such a major storm or earthquake? What if the disaster took the form of a fire, strike, or terrorist event that devastated your business, area, or industry?
Are you prepared for emergencies? If Not, Act Now!
· Do you have an emergency plan that is current and comprehensive?
· Are you ready to act quickly to minimize your losses if an emergency strikes?
· Do employees know their roles in helping your company survive an emergency?
· Do you have proper coverage for earthquakes, floods, and other emergencies?
· Have you planned key steps to enable your business to continue operations?
· Are your IT and other key operations adequately protected and documented?
· Are your vital records in a safe place, preferably at a remote location?
Too often overlooked, emergency preparedness planning is critical to the continued success and even survival of your business. I learned this lesson first-hand during more than 25 years of being involved in emergency preparedness efforts of the City of La Mirada, California. As a Department Director and City Manager, I worked to develop emergency plans, coordinate responses, and educate businesses, residents and community organizations on the importance of being prepared for all natural and man-made emergencies.
I’ve seen businesses such as manufacturers, chemical companies, grocery stores, home improvement centers, and railroads, as well as medical facilities, schools, homeowners associations and a university all benefit from emergency preparedness planning. Cooperative efforts have trained public and private emergency responders, emergency supplies and equipment needs have been addressed, and emergency information distributed. In addition, representatives of small and large businesses have joined emergency preparedness networks, which can bring together representatives from the local cities, police and fire departments, American Red Cross, local school districts, volunteer communications groups, medical community, clergy, and residential groups.
The same type of creative thinking that has helped to make your business a success should go into your company’s emergency preparedness plan. Act now to protect your business, your employees and your stakeholders. Do it now, before it’s too late.
Increase Your Business Success; Seize New Opportunities
Professional consultants must frequently help clients anticipate and deal with changes that are critical to the success of their organizations.
Changes impacting organizations and individuals can occur either internally or in their external environments. Changes can unfold relatively slowly or quite suddenly. Whatever the source or the pace of change, the fact is that change is inevitable. In order to properly perform their role as “trusted advisors” to their clients, consultants must be prepared to deal with such situations.
Consultants are likely to encounter challenges in terms of changes in their clients’ product offerings, service capabilities or the facilities they operate. Increased competition from local and international companies is a constant threat for many clients, and fluctuations in the economy can create drastic impacts on clients.
The same forces of change that impact client organizations can also be felt directly by consulting professionals, whether they work in a large firm or operate independently. In these cases, the challenge for the consultant is to readily and properly adapt to changing conditions in order to continue to advance his or her career success as a consultant.
During the recent recession, many once-thriving businesses faded away as major changes in the economy forced them out of existence. Some of these business owners were unable to adapt to changing conditions, and did not easily recover from the impacts of change. Still others, those who had the necessary creativity and resourcefulness, were able to recognize the need to adapt to changing conditions. Indeed, this latter group of business leaders seized control of their situations, and took steps to manage the change process in order to advance their careers and achieve business success once again.
By examining newly emerging trends, many of these more resourceful business leaders were able to identify exciting opportunities for establishing new career ventures that aligned well with their passions and interests. Focusing their efforts on achieving these new dreams enabled them to prosper amidst the new realities of a changed economy.
The experiences of these business leaders in recent years clearly illustrate how consultants must be prepared to adapt to changing conditions and embrace new opportunities in order to advance their own careers and properly serve their clients. Consultants with all levels of experience can benefit from learning to harness the power of the latest trends in technology and the potential to engage in a broad range of new business opportunities.
Today, consultants who have made the necessary transitions are providing valuable expertise and a wide variety of new services to their clients. Instead of focusing on what worked on the problems of the past, these consultants are mastering new skills and technologies in order to better deal with the realities of a changing world.
Consultants who want to remain successful in business, should explore their own opportunities for personal and professional growth, and establish a plan to manage the ongoing change that offers new avenues for success in their business and personal lives.