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Disaster-proof Your Franchise

We’re right in the middle of hurricane season, though thankfully, it’s been a pretty quiet summer. That’s a relief for many businesses situated along the Gulf of Mexico or the south-eastern Atlantic coastline.

While there’s so much to do in business and it’s difficult to prepare for every eventuality, disaster protection is the kind of annoying work that could save an entrepreneur or a franchisee so much trouble (and money) down the line. Your small business may not have the staff to meticulously draw up one of these schemes, but creating one is easier than it sounds.

Jennfier Walzer, blogging on the New York Times’s always-interesting You’re The Boss blog, discusses the ideas of Len Oppenheimer, (CEO of Golden Box), who’s drafted measures that entrepreneurs can take to prepare themselves for a disaster. She breaks the list into three categories:

  1. Data
  2. Contact/Communication
  3. People

Here are a few guidelines the article provides:

Consider backup options. Your backup must be offsite, secure and available for recovery 24/7. One popular option that meets the above criteria, with the added benefit of ease of use and automation, is online backup. Other options include tape or backup to external media.

Create contact lists so that you aren’t stuck without critical information when you lack access to your servers. Upload documents to an online location so that they are accessible from anywhere. There are secure online document storage sites for documents, like vSafe from Wells Fargo Bank or, which is — full disclosure — part of my company.

Identify critical functions like setting up communication methods, drafting e-mail messages, contacting clients and vendors and handling insurance.

Read the other ones when you get a chance. Even if you’re not in the eye of a hurricane of a tornado, disaster is unfortunately a part of life and business and there’s no harm in planning for it.

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