Today is December 1st, and here in New England that means snow and ice are just around the corner. And we aren’t the only ones, about half of the country, if they haven’t had any already are preparing for it. Over the last few years, we’ve had snow &/or ice storms that have taken down power for days and for some over a week. That poses a problem when you’re running a business. No power = No business. And even with power, if you have employees, the snow & ice can keep them home. Or you could be stranded somewhere else, not able to fly or drive home.
But what about those in the southern half of the country? No snow, no need to worry right? Well aside from the hurricanes & tornados, there are also other figurative storms to weather. Servers crash, laptops die, injuries keep you home, etc. There are lots of possible storms to prepare for.
But there are ways to prepare for the inevitable snow storm, both the actual ones and the figurative ones.
- HAVE A PLAN. Take a little time and imagine the snow storm of the century that shuts down your area. One day only? You & your business can probably just roll with it. But what if it is for 4 days or 6 or 8? Brainstorm how your business could continue to function. What will you need? What can you do to mitigate the down time? Then convert that into a plan. Write out your plan, and make sure all key players know the plan and how to implement it.
- BACK UP YOUR DATA. For both the big and the little storms, it is so important to have your data backed up. Not just your bookkeeping data, though that is extremely important, but other important data as well. Documents that would take valuable time to recreate, email contacts, important emails that may be needed in the future, should all be backed up regularly as well. Personally I would suggest backing up weekly. Most businesses back up once a month, when they close their month, but think about it…would you rather recreate a week’s worth of information & data, or a month? But, backing up isn’t enough, you then need to take your backup offsite. Backing up to an external hard drive sitting on your desk isn’t going to do you any good if the storm wreaks havoc on your office. Back up to a USB and put it in your briefcase, tote or purse to take home with you. Or, see below and consider the cloud. If you aren’t comfortable with storing your backup in the cloud, use it just for transfer. Upload your back up from your office, and download it to your home pc when you get there.
- CONSIDER THE CLOUD. There are dozens of cloud storage options out there now. Save documents & spreadsheets to the cloud. You will have access from your desktop as well as the ability to access those documents via the web when you’re stuck at home. Or, if we are in the no power scenario, at least you can be sure that that information is safe and secure, no worrying that when the power comes back on, your server or computers will crash. Some of the more popular options include Microsoft OneDrive, Google Docs, & Dropbox. If you are planning to move sensitive or confidential information to the cloud, be sure to research your options carefully.
Remember, not all storms come with a warning. Some, just happen, out of the blue (so to speak). If you have a plan in place, have been taking the steps outlined in your plan, and are prepared, then you and your business can weather the storm.
Need assistance winterizing your business? Fournier Accounting & Bookkeeping Services is happy to help.