Are you prepared for a business disaster?

Summer in Australia means BBQs, beach time and watching the cricket but it can also be a dangerous time, with increased risks from natural disasters like fire, storms, cyclones and floods.

In the December 2013 Sensis® Business Index we asked Australian SMEs what they felt posed the greatest risk to their business and whether they had plans in place in the unfortunate event of their business being disrupted.

It was concerning that over half (53%) of SMEs had NO plans in place to deal with an emergency. Less than half (42%) of SMEs had plans in place for staff, less than a third had plans in place for customers, and less than a quarter (24%) had plans in place for suppliers.

Most of the risks that small business people rated fell into two categories – natural disasters such as fire, flood, storms and cyclones, and other business disasters, such as data attack, theft and high staff turnover. Of all of these, it was data attack that most concerned small business people.

Most small businesses (95%) back up their business records, with almost three-quarters using a physical backup onsite. Which is a good start, but still risky if something happens to your business premises.

Only 43% had an offsite backup and only 20% backed up their data in the cloud. Only three in ten SMEs backed up their data in the cloud. It was interesting that male SME operators were over twice as likely as females to back up their records in the cloud.

The natural disasters that small business people were most concerned about not surprisingly varied by location, with SMEs in the southern states most concerned about fire, while those in the Northern Territory were most concerned about cyclones and those in Queensland most concerned about storms. SMEs in Queensland were most likely to have faced a business disruption in the past year, at 20%, compared to 15% on average.

For many small business people it takes time to ensure you’ve properly assessed whether your business is at risk in the event of a disaster or disruption scenario. What would you do to manage your customers, your staff and your suppliers if something disrupted your business?

So, take a moment, and do it now, to think, have you backed up your business records? Physically and in the cloud? What risks could your business face? And what are your strategies to deal with staff, customers and suppliers? Hopefully, they will be plans that you will never need to use, but if you do, it will be time very well spent.

Read the full Sensis Business Index for December 2013 here.

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