QI run a business with ten employees, and one of the things that keeps me up at night is planning for emergencies.
How do I even begin to prepare for major disruptions when we lack the continuity resources of a large corporation?

A: You’re right to worry about ensuring your business is a safe, secure, and resilient work environment — no matter your size! Here’s how you can be proactive:

Daily Safety Focus: Regularly train employees about key safety processes, protective gear, and equipment protocols, including vehicles if applicable. Maintain cleanliness to minimize hazards. Implement a daily safety checklist. Conduct frequent site visits and drills to reinforce and incentivize safe practices.
Employee Well-being: Encourage regular breaks for hydration and mental reset to sustain energy levels. Foster a professional and supportive atmosphere to manage stress.
Enhance Security Measures: Limit access by issuing passwords, keys, and codes only to those who require them. Change all passwords and codes regularly. At day’s end, ensure doors are locked, valuables are secured, and alarms/cameras are operational.
Business Continuity Plans: Anticipate risks like strikes, natural disasters, and system disruptions. Develop and maintain continuity plans with pre-assigned roles and strategies for response. This includes identifying assembly points, emergency contacts, backup power and tech systems, and remote or alternate work locations.
Emergency Kit Preparation: Create or purchase a grab-and-go kit for emergencies. Ensure all staff know where the kit is stored.

Incorporating robust safety and security practices not only mitigates risks but can also lead to cost savings on insurance premiums and claims. Most importantly, you’ll ensure safeguard lives and ensure uninterrupted operations. By empowering your team with knowledge and preparation, you pave the way for a resilient and secure small business environment.

This column originally ran in Cascade Business News’ November 9, 2023 edition. 

About the Expert

Sue Meyer is a professional consultant specializing in business start-up, strategies, and planning. Her first firm was built in 1994 when finances and opportunities for entrepreneurs were varied and abundant. She and her husband, Steve, have two successful local businesses and continue to help businesses grow in today’s challenging economic and customer-driven environment. After 30 years in the Phoenix metro area and traveling nationwide, Sue and Steve are proud to call Central Oregon home.