Sadly, we know that many people, communities and businesses have been impacted by the bushfires currently impacting much of Australia. Although the immediate concerns quite rightly remain on community and wildlife safety, food and shelter, small businesses will need to consider how to recover and rebuild.
Best practice for businesses of all sizes is to have a Business Continuity Plan to help support recovery following an incident or disruptive event. However the reality is that most small businesses don’t have a documented or tested Business Continuity Plan. This makes business recovery more difficult.
CPA Australia has produced a Disaster Recovery Toolkit which provides a series of templates and checklists to assist small business owners with immediate actions, recovery plans and long term business considerations. The toolkit covers:
* What to do immediately following a disaster
* Taking stock – guidance on how to analyse and evaluate the state of your business
* A new business plan – guidance on developing a new business plan to help recovery and how to fund that new plan
* Long-term disaster recovery – guidance on additional activities that may help your post-disaster business operate better than your pre-disaster business.
For more information on what a small business can do to prepare for a disaster, visit www.business.gov.au and search for “when things don’t go to plan”.
Once your Business Continuity Plan has been documented, it’s important to explain it to your staff so that everyone is clear on what to do during and after an incident. Consider things such as what to do in the event of:
* loss of vital staff
* loss of premises/venues
* loss of communications and IT
* loss of vital records
* loss of suppliers and supplies
* downturn in the local economy and customers/tourists
Given the current climate, it would also pay to include instruction on how to deal with a virus outbreak which has the potential to result in each of the above threats.