State of Colorado: Governor John Hickenlooper

Disaster Preparedness Strategies for Small Business

Is your small business vulnerable? Could it successfully "weather" a storm without warning - be that a hurricane, wildfire or tornado, or a technology disaster, such as a computer virus or a power outage? A recent Office Depot survey found that:

  • Four out of 10 (42 percent) of business owners do not have a disaster plan in place
  • Of those without a plan, nearly a third (27 percent) claim to have no plans to create one; and
  • A full 25 percent of business owners describe their attitude towards disaster preparation as "live and let live," explaining they would rather deal with a disaster when it occurs rather than get ahead of a potential problem.

Those business owners who have been impacted by an unexpected event know the importance of being prepared. Not surprisingly, the study also found that businesspeople in areas that have been impacted by a disaster in the past five years were significantly more prepared than those who were not impacted (74 percent versus 58 percent).


When it comes to disaster readiness, can your business ever be too prepared?


According to the Association of Small Business Development Centers, the effects of a disaster can be quite profound:

  • More than one in four businesses will experience a significant crisis in a given year;
  • Of those businesses that experience a disaster and have no emerency plan, 43 percent never reopen;
  • Of those that do reopen, only 29 percent are still operating two years later.

Make no mistake about it. Disaster preparedness is central to business survival, particularly when it comes to protecting a company's most valuable and irreplaceable assets: its people and its data.


To help educate small businesses on the importance of disaster preparation, Office Depot developed this guide - "Expecting the Unexpected: Disaster Preparedness Strategies for Small Business" - to provide small businesses with simple and affordable solutions.

We urge you to read on. Disaster preparedness could be the wisest investment your business makes.


In disaster planning and recovery it is critical to protect your people and your data.


Having a sound contingency plan can help your business to successfully recover from a disaster - be that a catastrophic event, like a hurricane, tornado, or fire, or a more regular occurrence like a blackout or flood. Being prepared will also help prevent disruptive events that can be anticipated and reduce the impact of events that are unavoidable.


One of the biggest misperceptions revealed in the Office Depot survey is that disaster preparedness planning is expensive. In truth, preparation can be achieved simply and affordably. Moreover, two-thirds (61%) of respondents who currently have a disaster plan in place, cited "I've realized it doesn't have to cost a lot of money or time" in explaining why they are prepared this year.


One thing you can be assured of: Not having a contingency plan or backup systems in place can mean closing your doors for good. So it is critical for small businesses to take disaster planning seriously.


Planning is key. You do not need a million dollar solution, just a common sense one that protects you, your employees and your business.