Business continuity plans a must for fire and cyclone season

With bushfires in the south of the State, and the wet season in full swing in the north, the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) is urging small business owners to prepare business continuity plans to minimise disruption in the event of a natural disaster or other business catastrophe.

Small Business Commissioner, David Eaton, says the quicker a business can recover from unforeseen emergencies, the less impact there will be on income and service delivery.

“Having an emergency response plan is fundamental, however our research shows that many businesses do not see this type of planning as important.

“In our 2012 State of Small Business Survey, only 23 per cent of respondents had undertaken business continuity planning for natural disasters, and it would appear that very little has changed,” Mr Eaton said.

“In recent times, businesses across the nation have been affected by fires, floods and cyclones so we are no strangers to these kinds of challenges.

“A business continuity plan can be as simple as a list of emergency numbers and important documents stored in a safe place, or can be more comprehensive ensuring full back-up of all documentation stored off-site, communications plans and alternative production and supply options.”

Over the past fifteen years, the SBDC has been called on to assist flood-affected businesses in Esperance, fire-ravaged businesses in Margaret River and businesses devastated by floods in Carnarvon.

The SBDC has also assisted businesses affected by the sudden closure of nickel operations in Ravensthorpe and, in 2008, a gas supply crisis caused by the rupture of a pipeline and explosion on Varanus Island in the State’s north west.

These disasters caused massive disruptions to many small businesses in the metropolitan area and in the regions.

As a result of these experiences, the SBDC has created a Business Continuity Planning Checklist as a guide to tailoring plans specific to any small or medium sized business.

“Being prepared for all contingencies is the basis of good business planning,” Mr Eaton said. “And having a checklist to remind you of what needs to be considered in developing such a plan, should encourage every business owner to act early and be prepared.”

Media contact: Di Graham SBDC 6552 3218 / 0432 750 565