7 ways to protect your business

  • Each year, more than 1 in 4 small businesses experience a significant crisis.

  • Nearly 2/3 of small businesses do not have an emergency plan in place in case of a disaster.

  • A little planning can go a long way in protecting your company and your customers from potential loss.

Summer is approaching, and so is hurricane season. Whether in a coastal town or inland, businesses need to prepare for disaster. Why? Devastating events happen every day — hurricanes and otherwise. More than one in four small businesses will experience a “significant crisis” (like a hurricane, wildfire, tornado, power outage, flash flood, or cyber breach) each year.1*

The Insurance Information Institute reports that nearly two-thirds of small businesses do not have an emergency plan.1 You can prepare by putting simple safeguards in place. If you set aside a few hours now, you can help protect your business should a fire, theft, or other disaster occur.

A disaster-readiness plan includes all parts of your business. Be proactive:

1. Identify critical assets.

List the items that, if lost, would disrupt your company the most. Consider assets like servers or warehouse inventory. Review insurance policies to see if they provide enough coverage. Make copies of key documents and store them in a fireproof safe deposit box or in the cloud.

2. Safeguard business data.

Keep up-to-date backups of critical data like customer information, transactional and operational data. Consider a cloud-based data backup service.

3. Protect your team.

Have a plan for communicating with team members in an emergency. You’ll want to be sure they’re safe. Keep first-aid kits, fire extinguishers, and other emergency supplies available and easy to find. Train employees on how to use them.

4. Support your customers.

Your plan should specify who will handle critical roles like contacting customers, vendors and service providers. This plan should include a specific timeline to reassure your customers that you are still there for them.

5. Plan how to run the business.

Know how you will maintain operations if the business can no longer operate in its current location. Determine how customers will contact you if you can’t use your location. Forward your calls to a wireless phone.

6. Explore technologies to maintain operations.

Along with data backup, consider tools that can help you keep your business running. Cloud-based services could be the key to keeping your business going.

7. Share your plan.

Share the final plan with employees, key stakeholders and partners. Review the details of the plan, so they know how it was tested and when it will be updated.


Make sure disaster preparation is part of your business strategy. A little proactive planning can help you preserve the vision that drives your company for years.


You can find additional resources on the Small Business Administration’s website at www.sba.gov/content/disaster-planning.


*Continuity Insights magazine and KPMY Risk Advisory Services survey

Tom Hughes Small Business Marketing Vice President AT&T About Tom