As events over the past several years have demonstrated, disasters can affect businesses at any time. Because of this, it’s vital that every contractor has a disaster recovery plan.
This type of planning doesn’t just come in handy during hurricanes and earthquakes. Even something as simple as a water or sewer main backing up, or a disruption in the power grid can disrupt your business for days or weeks.
Creating a recovery plan allows you to minimize risk to yourselves and your team members, maintain good relations with your clients, and shorten the time that your business stays closed.
For your plan to be effective, you need to treat it the way you would treat any part of your business plan. This means creating a clearly defined set of policies and procedures, getting input from your team members, and communicating your plan to your team.
You should also review your plan on a regular basis to make sure that all the information is up to date and that it is still effective.
Here are seven things to keep in mind when creating your recovery plan.
1. Communicate with your Team
In an emergency situation, maintaining good communication with your team is critical. If team members are unable to reach the office, make sure you have contact numbers readily available as well as a contact plan.
This allows you to stay in touch and avoid confusing or conflicting messaging.
This also allows you to avoid having team members show up to work on projects that are on hold, or having team members not show up because they didn’t have all the information.
Everyone should know what their assigned roles are before an emergency occurs. Create checklists to determine who is responsible for what task. This helps avoid redundancies, or worse, having a critical task overlooked because no-one was sure who was responsible.
3. Communicate with your Stakeholders
Once your team has established communication, the next step will be to reach out to your stakeholders. This includes:
Ideally, you should have an email message ready that you can send out informing clients about the status of your office, and providing them with a point of contact so that they can reach out to you.
If you have deliveries pending, be ready to reach out to your vendors to hold or reschedule deliveries. This can help you to avoid cash flow issues and allows you to maintain good relations with your suppliers.
Even if there’s an emergency, you still need to make sure that your bills are paid. If your cash flow is disrupted and you can’t meet certain obligations, be ready to reach out to creditors to set expectations. This can help you to avoid liens and other issues that can affect your cash flow.
4. Back Up Your Records
Your files and information are a critical part of your business. Everything from plans and contracts to invoices and tax files. But what if your office is inaccessible? What if your paper files are damaged or lost? The ability to access digital copies of your paperwork will be critical as you recover from a disaster. To preserve your records when disaster strikes, you need to start storing them in the cloud now. Converting paper files to digital, and performing regular backups to the cloud or a secure physical server need to part of your regular business practices.
It’s also a good idea to talk with your accountant and banker to see what records they can maintain on your behalf, and which records you are responsible for keeping. This can help you to determine which records you should prioritize if time or storage space is of the essence.
5. Talk with Your Insurance Agent
The time to talk with your insurance agent about disaster relief isn’t after a disaster happens. Talk to your agent now to see what kind of coverage you currently have and then determine if you need additional coverage. Remember, insurance isn’t just about dollars and cents—it’s about how quickly your insurer can respond to pay your claims. Delays can cost time which in turn costs business.
6. Test Your Plan
Once you’ve created a plan, test it. Select a day to run through your plan with your employees to make sure they can access everything they need. Ask your team to take notes on what works and what doesn’t. That way, you can adjust your plan for maximum effectiveness.
7. Work with the Right Partners
Working with Cinium can also help you in case of an emergency. Our Project Accounting Service can provide you with copies of project records. If you are facing cash flow shortfalls, you can take advantage of a Requisition Cash Advance to help cover the cost of labor and material.
Ready to put Cinium’s experience to work for you? Download an enrollment application or call us today at 855-424-6486.