Emergencies That Business Owners Should Be Prepared to Handle
As exciting as being an entrepreneur might seem, starting a business involves a lot of planning. In addition to business development and marketing strategies, business procedures should also include adequate training to deal with emergency protocols.
As your business grows and you begin to recruit staff, it is important to equip them with the skills necessary to respond appropriately to emergency situations.
Be it financial or physical, business emergencies can be varied. Jumping from one crisis to another is quite common for business owners. Being prepared for these emergencies plays a major role in succeeding as a business.
Let’s take a look at some of the business emergencies that can arise without warning.
With the advent of technology, the world has gone digital. Owing to the convenience and multiple benefits, most business operations rely on the Internet. An unprecedented network downtime can cause a huge loss to a company in terms of revenue and employee productivity.
According to a survey conducted on 205 businesses, it was found that companies lose as much as $100 million every year owing to downtime related to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). For businesses that cater to thousands of visitors every day, network downtime can turn out to be a serious problem.
Common reasons for network downtime involve failure of software, equipment etc. The increased dependence of businesses on IT is the primary reason behind such a problem. It can escalate and turn critical in a matter of hours. Even though this problem cannot be completely eliminated, proper planning can reduce the damage to a minimum.
Not all companies are prepared for the business disruptions caused by sudden power outages. While some blackouts may last for a couple of hours, some may last for days. With interconnected grids, an outage can spread quickly, thus shutting down businesses for weeks.
An uncertainty around power supply can hamper the growth of small and medium businesses. Even though a power outage may be beyond the control of a company, it important to assess the impact that a blackout can have on the business operations. This will help companies determine whether they have the right controls and strategies in place to mitigate the risks.
Fire emergencies are unprecedented and catastrophic. But the good news is, you can be prepared for fire hazards. Adequate training should be provided to the employees so that they are prepared for fire disasters. An emergency evacuation plan is necessary. To ensure that the plan is implemented properly, fire drills should be conducted at regular intervals.
Employees should know where the fire exits are and how to reach them promptly in the event of a fire. In addition to that, they should also know how to use a fire extinguisher and the immediate steps to take at that moment to avoid injury.
Fire isn’t always restricted to the office building. If your company has vehicles plying for deliveries or other services, you should ensure that extreme precaution is taken to prevent vehicular fires.
Lawsuits are unpleasant burdens that plague all entrepreneurs since these can be detrimental to the life of a business. You never know when a client or an employee decides to bring a lawsuit against your company. Therefore, it is crucial to be prepared for the same.
Sound legal advice in every business decision is necessary to ensure that your company does not become a victim of crippling lawsuits. Enough attention should be paid to the legal aspects of entrepreneurship.
Some of the common lawsuits that companies face involve copyright issues, discrimination or harassment cases, problems arising from not protecting the customers’ data, tax concerns etc. Seeking advice from a competent attorney in these matters is vital.
Medical emergencies aren’t uncommon for businesses. Employees could injure themselves by slipping and falling on the stairs, choke on food, have a seizure or a cardiac arrest and so on. Regardless of your business type, these injuries can happen anytime.
In such medical emergencies, a timely response can make all the difference. Therefore, having a plan is important. You can consider training your employees in CPR and arrange for a first-aid kit to be present in the office at all times.
- Calling an emergency service is the first thing that should be done.
- You can ask your employees to keep their medical histories handy so that doctors can administer immediate treatment.
- Ensure that your employees know how to provide first-aid services.
Having a business insurance and a worker’s compensation can be helpful in such distressing times. Ensure that all your employees are covered by your policies. This can save you a lot of trouble.
Natural disasters are not always predictable. They are unwelcome surprises that can cause massive damage to a business. Thunderstorms, earthquake, flood etc. are some of the natural disasters that can hurt a business’s growth. While early indications of hurricanes and storms may help in curbing the damages, not all disasters provide early signs.
These disasters can not only result in damage to property and severe injuries, these can also contribute to cash flow interruptions, troubles with insurance companies and so on.
Ensure that your business facilities are equipped with adequate emergency response systems. Your employees should be trained in emergency evacuation procedures. These steps can minimize the damage considerably.
An interruption in the cash flow can be a serious problem. This can lead to a number of bounced checks and disgruntled employees. You should have a line of credit ready for such crisis.
Sometimes, owing to systemic errors or other issues, your business’ s website may not work properly. This can result in a major loss of leads. An improperly working website may discourage customers from visiting the site again. To reduce the loss caused, an actionable backup plan should be ready for such situations.
Burglary can also be a major problem. Ensure that adequate security features like alarms etc. are installed in your business premises to avoid this.
The right preparation for these emergencies can directly impact the growth and development of businesses.
Images: ” Emergency plan. The mark “EMERGENCY PLAN”. Red pencil and mark on white surface. Isolated. 3D Illustration / Shutterstock.com“
Katie Smith is a fire expert and her areas of interests and expertise include forensic science and accident or crime scene investigation related matters. She is associated with Auto Fire & Safety Consultant and often conducts fire investigation in Houston. Blogging is her hobby and she is also a consultant blogger, having well-accepted write-ups on a wide range of topics, such as general safety, security and safety equipment.Read Full Bio