Businesses need to prepare before disaster strikes - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Businesses need to prepare before disaster strikes

The Disaster Recovery Journal says 43-percent of businesses that close as a result of a disaster will not re-open.

The reason? Poor planning.

It wasn't a hurricane or an earthquake, but the floods that hit Southaven this past July were devastating nonetheless.

Charles Tackett saw his business, Cowboy Corner, nearly ruined.

"I'm still having nightmares over wading around in a foot of water in the business we've had for 48-years," Tackett told Action News 5 in July.

The store suffered $100,000 in structural damage and lost $40,000 worth of inventory.

"Computer equipment, telephone equipment, security equipment, electrical, that all had to be replaced and that added to the bottom line loss also," he said.

Cowboy Corner was closed for 17 days.

"We're trying to recoup that, but again, that was 17 days of non-revenue producing days and so hopefully by the end of the year we can make that up," he said.

Almost four months later, the boots are back, but Tackett says his company is still in the recovery phase. Tackett didn't have a disaster recovery plan for his business and experts say he's not alone.

"Most people, most businesses, the smaller businesses may not even have one at this point, so in the wake of Katrina and Rita most folks are saying okay well what do I need to do," said Ron Smith, ABCP, with the Mid-South Association of Contingency Planners.

Smith says all companies need to create a business impact analysis, well before a disaster.

"How much money do I lose if I'm closed a day, two days, a week and balance that figure against what's it going to cost me to try to set up either another site or to have one of these people come in and help me in the event of a disaster," Smith.

Smith says one key to continuity after a disaster is a having what's called a "hot site."

"That would be another computer room in another area that has a copy of my data so that I can continue doing business but from some other location," said Tackett.

You should also incorporate employees into your recovery plan.

"You need to make sure you've got a people factor in your disaster recovery plan to take care of are my people safe? Are my key personnel somewhere where I can access them?" said Smith.

The bottom line according to Smith: plan now, or pay the consequences.

Tackett didn't have a plan, but he's working on one now.

Knowing all too well, what it means to be caught unprepared when disaster strikes.

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