In addition to a contingency plan in case of a natural disaster, companies should create a business continuity plan to ensure that critical functions can continue during and after any kind of disruption, as discussed in Disaster Plans: 'No Single Point of Failure.'
Businesses that don’t implement a continuity plan risk reduced profits, as revenues fall and expenses increase to deal with the disruption. The recent labor dispute at the West Coast ports is an example of an unexpected disruption with a severe impact on business operations. Having a business continuity plan in place can greatly reduce the costs associated with such events.
Insurance doesn’t cover all costs, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency points out, and cannot replace customers that defect to the competition in order to receive time-sensitive products and services.
According to FEMA, the first step in creating a continuity plan is conducting a business impact analysis to identify time-sensitive or critical business functions and the processes that support them. Something as simple as setting up automatic forwarding to cell phones can help retain customers in the event of a disruption.
Read more about preparing for unplanned events in Disaster Plans: 'No Single Point of Failure.'