Resiliency and disaster planning for small businesses may seem like an afterthought at this point. There still is a lot you can do to prepare your small business for the future, both short- and long-term.
This is an incredibly trying time for small businesses. We at Business Impact NW are doing our best to stay up-to-date. Especially while resources and aid packages are announced and adjusted nearly every day. If you have done what you can by applying for EIDL or PPP, you may be asking yourself, “Now what?”
Business Impact NW is here to here to help answer that question. We have brought together some of the best resiliency planning guides and tools that can help you plan for the uncertain future. We know the economy will open up again. Here are some great resources to help you get ready for when that time comes and the more distant future.
Post-First Wave Planner for Small Businesses
This planning tool focuses on the post-pandemic period when businesses will need to adjust to “the new normal” and maintain high levels of flexibility and agility in the face of the unknown. Tactics include taking acceptable, measured risks, and anticipating possible outcomes in planning for a variety of scenarios that are likely to happen and which have significant impacts on your individual business.
The goal for this approach is to get operations up and running predictable and efficiently. By looking to the future, uncertain as it is for many businesses, you can make yourself ready now. Topics include Business Continuity, Communications, Emergency Management, Facilities, Human Resources, Legal, Supply Chain, and Technology.
Additionally, they have a crisis planning tool available: When Trouble Strikes.
Spearheaded by the Washington State Department of Commerce is the state’s entrepreneur and small business strategy. Startup Washington is designed to strengthen communities through the cultivation and retention of economic and intellectual wealth at the local level. This strategy has not only gained the support of local economic developers but is part of the governor’s long-term economic development initiative to recover economically from the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Planning for Coronavirus: A Guide to Businesses and Organizations
The adaptation of the CDC’s “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease,” put out by King County Public Health is a great place to start. Especially if you are planning the next steps of your business. It has specific and clear steps and links to more in-depth resources. This short guide can get you oriented and help you begin to frame what the coming months will look like. All the way from policy guides to assessing workplace exposure risk, infection control measures and anticipating absenteeism.
Keeping the Lights On
This Business Resiliency Toolkit includes a guide to help you work through the steps of Identification, Planning, Implementation, and Recovery and covers topics such as risk management, business impact analysis, emergency response plans, and communications in an emergency. The toolkit also includes a Business Resiliency Plan Template and an on-demand recording and slides for “Keeping the Lights On”.
The Washington Small Business Development Center is a network of over 30 expert business advisors working in communities across Washington State to help small business owners and entrepreneurs. You can access their free resources here.
Ready Business can help you prepare your business for a variety of hazards and interruptions. This is a great resource to help you plan and prepare your business for foreseeable disruptions.
The Ready Business Toolkit series from the Department of Homeland Security includes advice and planning tools on many topics from resource management to laws and authorities and crisis communications planning. They have specific toolkits on different types of hazards, including earthquakes, hurricanes and inland flooding. They also have a toolkit for Emergency Preparedness Social Media, a guide on how to plan for and deliver Ready Business workshops, and Ready Business Videos on many subjects.
Ready Business also has lots of resources for mid- and long-range planning to prepare for the future. Topics include Performance Objectives, Leadership, IT Disaster Recovery Planning, and Employee Assistance and Support.
Managing Business and Personal Finances During a Crisis
Business Impact NW is offering a Business Expert Session on Managing Business and Personal Finance During a Crisis. Thursday, May 21st at 10am. This 90 minute webinar brings together business and personal finance experts for a dynamic panel discussion. The discussion goes over managing both your business and personal finances through uncertainty. Panelists will share their expertise and the moderator will lead a discussion about the intersection of business and personal financial planning.
The webinar content will focus on supporting our solo-entrepreneurs or microenterprise business owners. Other types of businesses may also gain insights during the discussion. Moderated by Chief Program Officer Domonique Juleon with guest speakers Steve Burke from SBDC, and Ruth Kaneko and Stacey Black from BECU, a battery of seasoned professionals will be able to offer the best advice and answer your questions.
If you can’t make this session, sign up for a business coach and receive free advice for your specific situation, look for more offerings like this one on our calendar, or if you are thinking about starting a business, our Square One class will prepare you for success.
Business Impact NW is here to help your business weather the current storm and whatever comes next. Sign up for our free and low-cost services. We are all in this together.
About the author
Greta Stough is the Director of Development and Communications at Business Impact NW. She has a passion for sharing the work we do here in compelling ways. Prior to joining Business Impact NW, Greta operated her own consulting business, The Cabra Group, for over a decade, focusing on nonprofit development, community planning, grants and fundraising. Prior to that she was the Director of Development for the Suquamish Tribe. She has an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College. She did graduate work in Planning at NYU, living for five years in Brooklyn and enjoying diverse food, culture, and music. Greta enjoys hiking, cooking for her family, classic film, and playing with her English Cocker Spaniel, Scooter.