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10 Tips to Help Small Businesses Get Ready for the Unexpected

Is your business ready to face the unexpected? Cyber Express is here to help! We offer specialized IT support and solutions for small businesses in Youngstown, Boardman, Mahoning County, Ohio. Safeguard your business today against ransomware attacks and natural disasters. 

What would you do if your business suffered a ransomware attack tomorrow? Do you have a contingency plan in case of a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake? The unexpected can happen anytime, and small businesses can get hit particularly hard. Small businesses are the backbone of many economies. They are critical for job creation, innovation, and community development. But running a small business comes with significant risks. This includes financial uncertainty, market volatility, and natural disasters. 

Within six months of experiencing a cyber-attack, approximately 60% of small businesses end up failing. 

Therefore, it is vital for small businesses to be prepared for unexpected challenges to secure their longevity and success. This article will delve into essential tips to help small businesses ready themselves for any situation. 

Create a Contingency Plan 

Developing a contingency plan is a paramount measure in anticipating the unforeseen. This plan comprises procedures to guide businesses in responding to events like natural disasters, supply chain disruptions, or financial setbacks. It outlines emergency steps, task responsibilities, and communication strategies with employees, customers, and suppliers. 

Maintain Adequate Insurance Coverage 

Small businesses must ensure sufficient insurance coverage to shield themselves from unseen events. Appropriate insurance policies should encompass: 

  • Liability coverage 
  • Property damage coverage 
  • Business interruption coverage 
  • Data breach costs 

Business interruption coverage is especially important, as it can help cover lost income and expenses during disruptions such as natural disasters or supply chain interruptions. 

In the current threat landscape, cybersecurity liability insurance has emerged as a crucial consideration. This type of policy covers expenses associated with breach remediation and legal matters, providing valuable protection against cyber threats. 

Diversify Your Revenue Streams 

Small businesses that heavily rely on a single product or service, face heightened vulnerability to unexpected events that can cause severe harm. An instance, such as a raw material shortage, could cripple an organization lacking alternatives. 

To mitigate this risk, diversifying revenue streams is vital. Ensuring multiple sources of income, such as a restaurant offering catering services or a clothing store selling merchandise both online and in a physical location, can provide added stability and resilience. 

Build Strong Relationships with Suppliers 

For small businesses, cultivating robust relationships with suppliers is paramount to establish a reliable supply chain. This becomes especially crucial when businesses depend on a single supplier for their products. Strong supplier relationships prove vital during disruptions, as they mitigate the risk of supplier bankruptcy or supply chain issues. Maintaining multiple supplier options can significantly minimize the impact on your business during challenging times. 

Keep Cash Reserves 

Maintaining cash reserves is essential for small businesses to effectively navigate unexpected events. These reserves provide crucial support for covering unanticipated expenses, such as repairs, legal fees, or loss of income. As a prudent guideline, businesses should aim to have at least six months’ worth of expenses saved in cash reserves, ensuring they are well-prepared to tackle unforeseen challenges. 

Build Strong Outsourcing Relationships 

Business owners face increased risks if they attempt to handle everything in-house. For instance, if a key IT team member leaves, it could expose the company to significant security issues. Establishing robust outsourcing relationships with an IT provider and other critical support services, serves as a safety net. In case of staff or system-related disruptions, businesses can rely on these partners to ensure continued operations and security. 

Check Your Financials Regularly 

Regularly monitoring finances is crucial for owners. It allows them to stay on track with their goals and promptly detect any potential issues before they escalate. 

This includes: 

  • Tracking income and expenses 
  • Creating and reviewing financial statements 
  • Regularly meeting with a financial advisor 

Invest in Technology 

Embracing technology is a valuable step for small businesses to brace for unforeseen events. Cloud-based software safeguards data off-site, protecting it from natural disasters or cyber-attacks. Furthermore, technology enables process automation, minimizing errors and enhancing efficiency. 

Train Employees for Emergencies 

Training employees for emergencies is vital for small businesses to ensure everyone is well-prepared for unexpected events, such as natural disasters and cyber-attacks. Implementing training programs and establishing communication plans, help ensure a cohesive response during emergencies, and providing access to these plans is essential for all employees. 

Stay Up to Date on Regulatory Requirements 

Staying informed about regulatory requirements is essential for small businesses to maintain compliance with laws and regulations, including taxes, labor, and industry-specific rules. Non-compliance can lead to fines, legal expenses, and reputational damage. 

In conclusion, by adhering to these tips, small businesses can better equip themselves to handle the unexpected challenges they may encounter. 

Improve Business Continuity & Disaster Preparedness 

Embark on a journey towards resilience and safeguard your business interests with Cyber Express. Our expert team can assist you in preparing for the unexpected. Contact us today to schedule a chat if you are located in Youngstown, Boardman, Mahoning County, Ohio.