BOSTON (CBS) – There are over 27 million small businesses in the U.S. right now and close to 80% of them have one employee – the owner. Most small businesses, especially ones run from home, have not given enough thought to planning for disasters, natural or man-made.
If you are running a small business could you recover if your building was destroyed in a flood, fire or hurricane? What if you were recovering from an illness and couldn’t work? What if your computer crashed? Or your two-year-old flushes your backup memory stick down the toilet? These things do happen!
So if you have a small business, treat it like a big business and have a disaster plan.
Here are some things to consider:
Insurance: You need insurance. If you work from your home let your homeowner’s insurance carrier know you have a home office. Increase the liability and property damage coverage.
Consider purchasing disability insurance. Consider an umbrella policy which is simply insurance that covers a liability that your homeowner’s policy or auto policy will not cover.
If you drive your car or truck for business such as a realtor, a consultant or carpenter be sure you have the proper coverage. Yes it will cost you more but it truly is cheaper than a future problem.
Consider Business Interruption Insurance. This insurance will cover the rent, the utilities and even employee’s salaries in the event of a casualty that prevents the business from operating normally. That could be you getting sick or a fire destroying the building.
Record Keeping: Paper or computer? Do you have a backup system? Is it off site or on site? Do you back up your computer daily? Weekly? Do you take the memory stick with you at night or do you leave it at the office? Key information like contact files, are they on your computer, cell phone, a memory stick or a disk?
If you are using a paper format for your record keeping is the file cabinet fireproof and locked?
What records are so important to your business that if they were lost your business would go down the toilet? Inventory? Invoices, bank records, tax returns, payroll information, contracts, leases, customer databases, employee information, insurance policies?
Protect them. Be sure the information is backed up and kept safe. There are good reasons the Boston Stock Exchange has a secondary site.
This is not something you should ignore. If you are running a business you need to be professional about this. Run your business like the big guys!
One more thing: Resources for the self-employed –
Association Of Small Business Development Centers: http://www.asbdc-us.org/
Small Business Notes: http://www.smallbusinessnotes.com/choosing.html
Self-Employment Taxes: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98846,00.html
National Association For The Self-Employed: http://www.nase.org/
AARP Help For The Self-Employed: http://www.aarp.org/work/self-employment/
IRS, If You Are Self-Employed: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10022.html
Small Business Administration: http://www.sba.gov/tools/resourcelibrary/Podcasts/index.html