Earthquakes, pandemics, floods, and even cyber threats teach businesses one thing: only those who prepared for them survive and thrive.
The question is, how can companies reduce the adverse impact of these disasters on their cash flow, employee retention, and growth? Here are some ideas:
1. Improve Online Collaboration
Business owners have to learn to warm up to and be less apprehensive about the cloud (a.k.a. the Internet). It offers some of the best tools for collaboration.
With these apps, while disasters can disrupt employee schedules and company plans, they won’t last for a long time. Employees can transition from the workplace to their homes (or vice versa) quickly and conveniently.
Being in the cloud also means that data are available in real time, and businesses can worry less about data recovery and backup. Some of the best collaboration apps include:
- Google G Suite, which offers a centralized method of storing and sharing media files and data (companies can also look for Google G Suite resellers to make it more affordable)
- Skype, which allows for free Internet-based calls or reasonably priced International and domestic landline and mobile calls
- Trello, which helps organize tasks and projects, especially among team members
- Slack, promotes easy instant messaging in a more secure platform than Facebook
- Dropbox, which also stores scanned essential documents for backup
- LastPass, which stores and organizes hard-to-remember logins or passwords
2. Write a Business Continuity Plan
Disasters, especially sudden ones like earthquakes, can rattle people they forget to think clearly and, thus, decide rashly. They can also leave everyone second-guessing their next steps.
Like pilots, business owners need a manual, and this is the business continuity plan and start making a plan according to it. BCP helps companies by:
- Identifying high-risk functions
- Knowing disasters that can significantly impact the business
- Designing processes to safeguard the assets and allow the company to function in the middle and after the disaster
- Testing these methods before emergencies happen to find out whether they will work
- Reducing the stress that comes with dealing with disasters
The Department of Homeland Security provides a clear guideline on how to write a BCP.
3. Keep the Cash Flowing
During disasters, money can be tight. Businesses might struggle with withdrawing cash, or banks might close for a few days or weeks. Consumers need to divert their funds for more essential items or hold on to their money for as long as possible.
For companies to continue operating, they need to have a steady cash flow. Here are some ideas:
- Buy the most usable pieces of equipment and lease the others.
- Consider opting for cloud-based subscription plans or discounts (e.g., Google G Suite reseller).
- Sell or auction the least-used assets.
- Improve inventory management.
- Actively seek out possible business loans or open a revolving line of credit.
- Create and update cash flow projections and save at least three to six months’ worth of funds. Keep some of this inside a vault.
- Explore ideas that will help reduce costs without compromising services. For example, some employees can work from home.
- Build strong relationships with high-value and loyal customers.
- Manage accounts payables.
Disasters can throw off businesses from their path to success or growth. The good news is, that with these ideas, companies can get back on track as fast as possible.