A disaster can impact your business at any time. A key to survival is how well you prepare.

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Businesses of any size can suffer a disruption at any time; however, small businesses have it tougher. While large organizations have more financial and physical assets both before and after a disaster, smaller businesses often lack the financial resources for recovery, the ability to spread risk across multiple facilities in different locations, and ready access to alternative suppliers. Yet, Mother Nature, man-made threats and other extreme events are not particular about whom they strike, damage or disrupt. Recognizing this reality, one of the keys to survival for small businesses is preparing and planning for potential business disruptions of any kind.

OFB-EZ®: A free and easy-to-use guide for small businesses

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), of which Nationwide® is a member company, offers a free business continuity planning toolkit to help small businesses translate professional continuity concepts into an easy-to-use guide. Called OFB-EZ, the toolkit helps small businesses focus on planning for business interruptions regardless of the specific cause, so they can reduce their losses, get a jump on recovery and re-open as quickly as possible.

By using OFB-EZ, a small business can utilize many disaster planning and recovery best practices without the need for a large-company budget to accomplish the planning and protection basics. The toolkit provides a simple eight-step process, and users do not need to be expert in business continuity planning.

Benefits of an OFB-EZ business continuity plan

Creating a business continuity plan, such as that provided in the OFB-EZ toolkit, can help small business owners:

  • Consider and identify what risks and serious threats their business faces and how these threats could impact their critical activities and assets. Owners will be able to focus on the kind of disruptions most likely to happen, what the impacts would be, and what measures they can take to reduce those impacts.
  • Ensure that critical business operations are not shut down. A plan will include how a business’s critical operations will continue by concentrating on which activities need to be recovered immediately versus which can wait, developing and documenting workaround methods, and identifying who does what.
  • Plan for communications with employees, customers, suppliers and vendors during and after an emergency. By having up-to-date personal and emergency contact information and leveraging social media, a business owner can be sure their key stakeholders will not miss out on vitally important information if normal communication channels are down. In addition, they can help plan how to keep customers and suppliers informed about the status of the business, product or service, delivery schedules, and develop mutually agreeable alternative arrangements.
  • Protect information and information technology as they are extremely vulnerable to many disruption scenarios, ranging from localized power outages to major natural catastrophes. A business continuity plan also reminds employees to inventory and document all information technology and reminds them of the importance of frequent back-ups, off-site storage, and restoration options.
  • Reduce downtime. Every hour a business is down can cost thousands of dollars.
  • Avoid going out of business, which ensures job security for its employees and a faster recovery for the community.

Build your company’s actionable plan using OFB-EZ

No matter what your business does or where it’s located, disasters can strike, sometimes without a moment’s notice. IBHS and Nationwide encourage you to make business continuity planning part of your overall corporate risk management program.

To get started, download the OFB-EZ toolkit now and schedule a date to work through the kit to create your company’s plan.

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