previous post on this forum focused on a conversation between Linton Wells II, Ph.D., an Executive Advisor at George Mason University's Center for Resilient and Sustainable Communities (C-RASC), and Annie Mustafá-Ramos, who manages the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust's Resiliency and Business Innovation Program (RBI) about building sustainability and community resilience through local businesses in Puerto Rico. During his remarks, Dr. Wells referenced "The Business Disaster Resilience 101 Workbook," a tool jointly produced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and The UPS Foundation. The workbook is part of the the Resilience in a Box program, a collaborative partnership between the two aforementioned organizations as well as the World Economic Forum (WEF), CENACED, and the Disaster Resistant Business (DRB) Toolkit Workgroup.
"Small businesses are both highly vulnerable and without adequate resources with which to focus on taking preparedness actions," the workbook notes. "After a disaster, about 40% of small businesses will not reopen. An additional 25% close their doors over the following two years. Resilience in a Box is designed to give businesses the information crucial to readying themselves for any event that may occur: to survive and thrive, so the communities can survive and thrive."
Developed in Turkey as a pilot to help small businesses get better prepared, and to develop tools and training that can be easily exported to other countries, Resilience in a Box is based on best practices and designed to educate newcomers on Business Resilience. Consisting of three elements: Tools, Training, and Resources, the Resilience in a Box provides resources that will guide a company "toward addressing preparedness issues while building in the flexibility to handle potential business interruptions."
What is more, "Resilience in a Box tools are designed to lead every business--even one with no disaster experience or understanding--towards improved resilience. The tools were developed with three levels: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. The Intermediate level builds upon the Basic tools in order to get businesses better informed and able to readily determine specific actions that will enhance their resilience against all hazards and potential interruptions. The 101 Workbook is an Intermediate level tool as it provides more detailed business readiness guidance, tips, and resources to assist companies by addressing their own assets before a disaster occurs."
"The various components of these assets will vary from one business to another, but these six critical categories exist in some form or another in all companies. Assets will differ between businesses, although same industry types share more commonalities."
Based on my experience of creating corporate risk mitigation strategies, I concur that "Understanding what your critical assets are will assist you in identifying where your business is vulnerable to interruption. If most of a business' revenue comes primarily from its inventory, then a business should prioritize protecting or fortifying this asset from damage and losses from disasters such as a flood, earthquake, or fire."
In addition to the 101 Workbook, I appreciate the "Top 20 Tips for Business Preparedness" document that is part of the Resilience in a Box program's Basic Level:
1. Build a Team to create your plan
2. Get Top Level Buy-in
3. Keep your disaster plan simple
4. Gather critical documents & information needed for decision-making
5. Identify and then prioritize your critical operations and processes
6. Identify your hazards – the potential disruptions to your operations
7. Build Your Plan and create a "Grab-n-Go" case
PROTECT PEOPLE & RELATIONSHIPS
8. Maintain Contact lists – Update emergency lists for your employees, vendors, suppliers, and key contacts
9. Recruit employee volunteers to become trained emergency responders
10. Stockpile essential emergency supplies
11. Take the message home: Develop a prepared workforce – business readiness doesn’t end at work
PROTECT BUILDINGS, EQUIPMENT & DATA
12, Back up and protect your vital records and data
13. Take action to mitigate potential impacts to your equipment, buildings, and facilities
14. Protect your inventory and storage before it is lost to the disaster and you have nothing to sell
PROTECT YOUR BRAND
15. Establish and maintain communication in a crisis to ensure that your employees, suppliers, customers, and the public are getting the facts directly from you
16. Cultivate Partnerships
PUT YOUR PLAN INTO ACTION
17. Exercise and test your plan
18. Keep your plan updated
19, Implement the plan
20. Connect with the local economy
The 101 Workbook states: "After a disaster, countless stories can be told of small-to-medium sized businesses who relate stories with one common regret, 'I wish I had done something in advance.' For them, it was too late. It is not too late for you and your business to take action. Read this 101 Workbook and pick one step, then do it! Your business will be better prepared. Start now!"
I invite you to share your experience on how your business is building disaster resilience.
Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.