- Develop an emergency response plan
- Build an emergency kit
- Safeguard your financial documents
- Review your plans and processes regularly
Floods. Bushfires. Cyclones. Pandemics. Disasters can devastate communities and small businesses too - even causing some businesses to permanently close. Having a disaster plan in place before unexpected events happen is an important business risk management strategy that can minimise impacts on your business.
Develop an emergency response plan
You may think that a disaster is unlikely to happen to you, but the reality is that natural disasters occur regularly (and often quite quickly) in both urban and regional communities.
Developing an emergency response plan to keep your employees safe and your business secure is a precautionary measure that could make all the difference when it matters.
Your plan should include the following:
- contact details for staff members, including their next-of-kin and emergency contact person
- evacuation plan detailing a meet up location that’s a safe distance away from your business premises
- clearly assigned roles for staff to carry out duties as evacuation team leaders or fire wardens
- emergency plan and evacuation training for employees
- insurance company contacts including policy numbers and relevant phone numbers
- supplier lists so you can purchase the replacement equipment and materials you need to rebuild
- detailed list of all equipment and vehicles to support insurance claims.
Build an emergency kit
Depending on what type of business you run and where it’s located, your emergency kit contents will vary. A first aid kit, torch, spare batteries, disposable masks, and hand sanitiser will make up a basic kit.
If your business operates in more remote terrain, a compass, satellite phone, GPS, fire blanket, paper maps, drinking water and other supplies might also be necessary.
Safeguard your financial documents
During a natural disaster like a bushfire or flood, paper documents can be lost or destroyed.
Keeping your essential financial and business documents (including insurance policies) saved in the cloud, on an external hard drive or as hard copies located in a separate location from your business, will make accessing your data easier when applying for loans or disaster relief packages.
Create a crisis communications strategy
Communicating with customers, partners and suppliers is key at the best of times, but how you communicate through a crisis can make or break a business. Having a strategy in place for communicating when a disaster or unanticipated event occurs will help to keep your clients and suppliers informed during a critical time.
Consider creating a range of pre-written statements or email templates for staff to follow when an emergency strikes. Using social media can help you quickly communicate en masse, which reduces the burden on staff to answer phone calls and emails from customers during a critical time.
By communicating clearly and frequently with customers and suppliers during challenging periods, your business will hopefully be more likely to retain those relationships when the situation normalises.
Secure your business’s finances
Whether it’s a pandemic, global conflict, stock market meltdown or supply chain breakdown, unexpected interruptions can spell financial trouble for your business.
Even if your business is currently in a solid financial position, there may be times when you need to quickly access additional funds. One option to consider is applying for a business overdraft.
Interest and fees usually apply to overdrafts so you should discuss with your accountant or business adviser what you need in place to manage these kinds of financial contingencies.
Review your plans and processes regularly
As the world changes and your business evolves, so should your approach to disaster preparedness. Schedule an annual review of your emergency response plan to ensure that it is current and relevant. If your business has grown or undergone any other significant changes (like moving premises), it’s especially important to revise your plan to reflect the size, scale and scope of your operations.
Apply for a business loan or overdraft using your accounting software with ANZ Go Biz.
Read about ways you could reduce business costs during uncertain times.
ANZ natural disaster support
ANZ customers impacted by natural disasters - such as a bushfire, flood, storm or earthquake - are encouraged to get in touch with us so that we can discuss the potential support options in our Disaster Relief Package.
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