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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Guest Blogger: Could a Power Outage Mean Lights Out for your Business?

Recently a major series of windy storms punched hard in Chicago and knocked out power to Amplivox Portable Sound Systems in Northbrook IL.  Many problems were overcome and many lessons were learned in returning Amplivox to normal operations 2.5 days later.

One glaring issue confronting the Amplivox emergency response team was the lack of a written continuity plan to deal with the ever changing set of issues that needed to be identified and resolved during the outage- many unexpected but all foreseeable.

Can your business survive the unexpected?  
Does your small business have what it takes to adjust and recover?  

Fortunately for Amplivox, the return to normal operations resolved after the lights came back on in 2 and a half days.

Unfortunately if a business cannot return to operations within a 10 day operations window, insurance statistics indicate 80% of those businesses are likely to close their doors within a month!  For Amplivox, we just had one core problem to solve- loss of electricity.

Think about managing a multiple event- a flood or a fire that not only knocks out power, but costs your business your inventory, your IT assets, your phone system.  

What if the “money stopped coming in’?

Firestorm encourages businesses of all sizes to develop business continuity and business resumption resources for your organization.  While this process can sometimes seem overwhelming, between identifying likely risks, developing plans and drilling for best practices, it can be managed in as little as a few focused hours every quarter.  

As Firestorm likes to say, Luck is NOT a strategic plan.  

Organizations that are planning “to be there” after most disasters view their business continuity capabilities as strategic assets as important as a motivated work force and a sterling business reputation.

Take inventory of who depends on your business:  your customers, vendors and business partners obviously come to mind.  Drill down a bit deeper and you will a workforce whose professional lives are intertwined with your business goal, families that rely on your business success to put food on their table and even a local economy that exists because they support and encourage a healthy local economy.
Failure to plan, as the saying goes, means planning to fail.
Dave Flora is a Principal at Firestorm and can be reached at dflora@ampli.com.

See Dave in a YouTube Video: Prepare Your Business for a Power Outage