Insights – Weathering the Storm- The importance of Disaster Management Plans for Businesses.
When starting a new business, or expansion is happening we are focused on the positive aspects of our business and disaster is the last thing on our mind.
However with the increasing number of natural disasters occurring and the catastrophic impact we have seen on businesses as a result it is important for small businesses to invest in a Disaster Management Plan.
In preparing the Disaster Management Plan careful consideration should be given to the following areas:
- What events could cause impact to our business?
- How serious could an event be?
- What would be the likelihood of this event occurring
- What could be done to reduce / eliminate the event?
- What are the critical actions we need to undertake?
- What are the roles & responsibilities for key personnel?
- What communication needs to be relayed?
- Do we have an evacuation / relocation plan on where we need to go?
- What are the recovery considerations?
- What are the triggers to activate our plan?
- Is evacuation / relocation needed?
- Is support needed?
- Where can I get updates (information is critically important)?
- What support is available?
- Can my recovery plan be activated?
- Where can I get updates?
- Reflection – what worked well and what didn’t work well in our disaster plan?
Your recovery plan should be reviewed annually with key personnel so that all are across the requirements and remains relevant to your ever changing business.
Your initial plan should be creative – think about all of the possible events which may occur that will cause an interruption to your business and the potential impacts.
OzKleen in Ormeau were extremely lucky that they had considered the impact of potential disaster.
As part of their plan they had constructed the factory in preparation for potential fire damage which involved firewalls between each of the bays including fire doors and sprinkler systems. When fire did occur 10 months ago, the construction ensured that the fire was contained to 1 bay were they held their stock – unfortunately they lost approximately $1.5m in stock, however they were still able to get their operations back up and running in a matter of a few days. As a result of the damage they have also changed their production to just in time due to the lack of storage space, which was something they had considered as part of their planning process.
Tools to Assist
The City of Gold Coast has created a tools and Disaster Emergency Dashboard that is tailored in real time and provides updates on various events which are currently occurring. Dashboard (cityofgoldcoast.com.au)
Qld Government offers a scheme for small businesses called Mentoring for Growth Program (M4G) which has been running since 2002. While not exclusively for disaster impacted businesses, when businesses enquire about M4G, they will do a fact find about your business and this enables them to assign the appropriate mentor to assist within the business, which can included mentoring for recovery. Mentoring for Growth program | Business Queensland
The sessions are done on zoom and the goal is to delve into the issues the business is experiencing thus enabling appropriate recommendations to the business owner. After these sessions, the business owner is able to reach out to their mentor and engage them on a fee for service arrangement to continue them to improve and grow their business.
M4G can help with:
- Cashflow difficulties
- Social / digital media issues
- IT and technology problems
- Employment and staffing issues
- Marketing / promotion of the business
- Finding customers and growing the business
- Business planning
- How to structure the business
- How to manage growth
- Mentoring for recovery
Benefits for small business
- Provides a sounding board to help business owners make decisions
- Helps develop and grow the business through improved planning, performance & productivity
- Broadens business networks
- Helps businesses to identify new opportunities, improve ways of doing business or develop innovative solutions to business issues
- Often identifies areas of risk within the business and suggestions are made on how the risks need to be addressed
The Department of Employment, Small Business and Training also offer support by way of business grants etc, however, businesses should understand the purpose of what grant they are applying for, many miss out due to not providing enough information, or simply applying for a grant which is not relevant to them.
They also have a small business disaster hub, which provides industry specific resources. You can subscribe to the small business connect newsletter which provides details on funding grants and support available to small business. (desbt.qld.gov.au)
How Can Alto Help?
Contact Alto if you would like to discuss what is involved in preparing a Disaster Recover Plan or Risk Minimisation Strategy.
Author: Tanya Holtham