You’ve barricaded the doors and windows, divvied up the emergency rations, and the secretary has even found a chainsaw in the supply cupboard. The undead are outside, beating at the doors and moaning incoherently as they try to find a way inside to feast on your glorious, entrepreneurial brain.
Will your business survive the zombie apocalypse? Not without a plan.
A disaster recovery plan is vital for any business
While the above scenario is pretty unlikely to happen, what if it did? Would you be prepared? What would happen if an earthquake destroyed your office? Or an arsonist set fire to your servers?
When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, it not only claimed 1,800 lives, but also caused more than $600 million in damage to infrastructure and communications across the region. Without the ability to reach clients and continue business, many companies were forced to close their doors.
And that is very sad and very, very real.
Imagine you were a business in that area. Even if you and your family escaped with your lives, even if your home and office weren’t turned to rubble, without access to your files, could you keep running your business?
So take some time today to prepare a zombie apocalypse plan for your business. Here’s what you need to think about:
- How will you check that all your employees/clients are OK?
- How will you communicate with employees and clients?
- How will you keep running the business?
- How can you rescue your data?
- How will you continue to bill clients for work completed?
- How will you work with clients if their homes and businesses are destroyed?
In any disaster situation, being able to communicate with employees, key agencies and clients is vital. The first thing you’ll want to do following a disaster (after securing your own safety and that of your family and possessions) is to contact your staff (if you have any) and check that they’re OK. You need to gain an accurate picture of the situation and who you have available to help.
As the initial shock of the disaster wears off and you’ve conducted damage assessment on your assets, you can start looking ahead at keeping your business ticking over. This means contacting all your clients and informing them of the situation. You need to assure clients that you plan to continue working with them, but that things may be a bit slow while you figure out how to work around a horde of brain-eating monsters.
If your clients are being attacked by the very same horde, they may not be in need of your services any longer. For example, shop owners who’ve had their premises destroyed will have no need to continue their store PPC campaign. Calling each client to find out the status on the project will give you an accurate picture of your workload moving forward.
But how will you contact your clients and staff? Well, this will depend on the nature of the attack, where you are when the attack occurred and exactly what communication channels the zombies have wiped out.
The first and most important item in any zombie apocalypse plan is to keep an up-to-date database of contact details. And this database needs to be accessible from outside your office. It’s no good having all your files stored in your office if your office is buried under 5 feet of rubble.
This is one of the reasons why cloud-based software is such an excellent choice for business owners. If you store your contacts on the cloud, you’re able to access them anywhere, from any device, at any time (provided you can getInternet service). Since data and Wifi are some of the first services to be restored following disaster, you should quickly be able to get a full picture of the situation.
Workspace and Data Recovery
If your offices are in the zombie infestation zone, you might not be able to return there for some time. After a tragic earthquake struck the CBD in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2010, many businesses weren’t allowed back into the “red zone” for several months afterward – most too late to save their businesses.
In most situations, workers will be able to telecommute from their homes or another remote office if adequate equipment and tools are available to them.
You could also pool resources with other business owners in the area to set up temporary backup offices, perhaps in a warehouse or someone’s garage. Companies can work together to establish and share communications and equipment. In a disaster, it’s good if everyone can work together.
When setting up an office from a remote location, cloud-based software can offer huge advantages. If accounting, workflow, invoices, and file storage are run – or at least backed up – via the cloud, a company can quickly and easily get back to work again from an alternative location. Cloud software can also facilitate collaboration. For example, your clients can check off drafts of a project online from the safety of their bunker.
In fact, with cloud-based job management, invoicing and collaboration being a standard part of your operations, it’s possible your clients won’t even notice anything is amiss!
Handing over the Reins
Perhaps you were unfortunate to be eaten alive, but your 2nd in command is a plucky hero type who will undoubtedly go on to survive and repopulate the species. How will he/she be able to manage the business after your gruesome and untimely death?
This is partly a training issue and partly an issue of succession planning. It’s especially important for small businesses where you may be only person in the business – or the only person who knows what’s going on.
A disaster isn’t just a flood or a tsunami – it could be a medical emergency that places you out of commission for several months. After a disaster is too late to train up someone in managing your business; now is the time to start training an employee, contract or a friend or spouse to keep the business afloat without you. How will your business keep operating?
Make Sure You’ve Covered
Of course, there probably isn’t an insurance policy on earth that covers you for the zombie apocalypse (actually, wait, there is), but you should definitely make sure your business is adequately insured against disaster. Fire, theft, earthquakes, tsunamis and hordes of bloodthirsty undead can and do happen, and always to people who think it will never happen to them. If you can’t afford to lose your business, then you can’t afford not to insure it.
I suggest getting some advice from a mortgage broker or independent financial advisor, as they’ll help you figure out what you need and find the best price for your budget.
There are many experts who believe the zombie apocalypse is actually a real threat. So while you’re stocking up on dry goods and practicing your moves with a cricket bat, it’s a good idea to think about what your business will do when confronted with a wall of shambling, undead flesh-eaters.
Will your business survive?