Arlington, VA

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

After many years of working with entrepreneurs — it wouldn’t be a stretch to say launching and running a small business is not for the faint of heart.

The risk of failure is constant. An entrepreneur needs to have both eyes open for every pitfall and danger sign. From industry changes, to knowing your competition and fighting for capital — today’s entrepreneur must be on their “A,” game — everyday.

One area of importance for entrepreneurs to bring their “A,” game is in preparedness.

We don’t always talk about preparedness because the likelihood of a natural or man-made disaster happening may appear to be small; however, when it does happen you’ll want to be ready. The best time to have your business ready is now. Flooding, fires and other acts may seem unlikely, but it is best when running a business to err on the side of planning. Mitigate risk by anticipating all aspects that could negatively impact your business.

PLAN is a great four-letter word. Here are 5 areas to make sure your business is prepared for a disruption.

Familiarize yourself with the types of hazards your business could face:

  • Natural Disasters (I.e., hurricanes, tornadoes earthquakes etc.)
  • Health Hazards (I.e., flu, measles, virus etc.)
  • Human-caused hazards (I.e., active shooter, on the job accidents)
  • Cyber threats or power outages.

Develop a plan

Ready.gov offers great resources and toolkits to help your business to come up with a plan. Ensure you have identified hazards you are most likely to encounter and work through a practical application.

Practice Your Plan

Make sure every member of your team is familiar with the details of how to execute the plan. Don’t let the plan gather dust. Update information and offer training on a regular basis.

Reach out for help!

Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management has several local tools to make sure your business is prepared. You can also reach out to them with help or assistance as you fine tune your plan.

As you plan, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper coverage necessary to ensure there is no long-term disruption of your business. The US Chamber of Commerce provides tips on how to make sure you have the right insurance coverage for your business in a recent blog post. FEMA also offers several tips and links on how to acquire the right flood insurance for your business.

Save the date! As part of BizLaunch’s Brunch and Business Series, on October 23, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Arlington Economic Development we will be addressing the topic of business disruptions and how to overcome them in more detail with a panel of experts.

You’ll find more information on our event page in the coming weeks.

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