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H1N1 Swine Flu & Business Continuity

Updated on August 12, 2009

Is your Business Prepared for a Pandemic

It is here. There is no doubt there will be a pandemic. The World Health Organization has said so and I don't think they are being over dramatic. The question is, can your business survive a pandemic...or any other type of disaster for that matter?

Questions to Answer

If you are a business owner you have lots of questions to answer to be ready. Contact names for clients to let them know you are still in business...Suppliers and vendors who are they and what alternates are available? What about staff and key job functions? Do you have a source for temporary labor that knows your business and can provide you temporary help in a hurry? Banking and finance, do you have enough lines of credit to sustain you until things return to normal? Human resources, can you send someone home who might be contageous and endanger your workforce?

Not knowing can keep you up at night if you think about it. That is why you need a plan. There are some good basics of what to include in a business continuity plan. There are also companies that can give help and guidance on staffing issues. If you need HR advice about sending people home, I'd suggest looking at your employee handbook and talking to an employment attorney.

H1N1 Pandemic

Is Your Business Prepared?
Is Your Business Prepared?

Reasons Not to Wait

There are 3 big reasons not to wait to make your plan.  Two of them are easy and the other is a lemon/lemonade thing. 

Reason 1 - Staying in Business 

This plan could literally mean the difference between staying in business and going out of business.  Sure it takes time but lots of things take time.  It does not have to be a comprehensive plan.  Think list of top clients, top suppliers/vendors and key staff. 

Reason 2 - Clarity and Peace of Mind

Think of this, knowing that in case of a disaster or emergency, you have a plan.  You may also uncover who your key staff really is by going through this.  Also who are your key suppliers and what are the alternatives.  Never hurts to have a backup plan.  Your business may actually benefit now from thinking about such things.

Reason 3 - Marketing Strategy?

I bet you didn't think of this one.  Imagine having as a selling point that you have a business continuity plan.  Tell your clients that you have a plan to maintain business even in case of emergencies.  Think about what that says to your clients.  Also consider how many of your competition won't have such a plan and God forbid something does happen, how many accounts where you are the backup will you become the prime if you competition can't perform in an emergency? 

Final Thoughts

It makes sense to have a Business Continuity plan both from a preparedness standpoint but also from a marketing and sales standpoint.  Your plan could not only save you but also make you bigger and better if there ever is a disaster. 


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