How Small Business Owners React to Questions about Emergency Preparedness


Who do you think you're kiddingLast week we attended a business expo: 1,000+ people talking, laughing, and sharing their business ideas. Energy and American ingenuity on display!

We figured these people wanted their business to succeed, so we offered a couple of quizzes to get a conversation started about Emergency Preparedness. As you can imagine, results were mixed.

  • Some people (10%) took one look at us, saw the word “Emergency,” and shouldered their way past. Not interested, or threatened.
  • A few (5%) grabbed the quiz and proceeded to show off how well they and their businesses were prepared. They were enthusiastic!
  • Most (85%) came out with a version of the same thing: “Oh, I know I should be doing something, but . . .” (They usually said this with a shrug and a weak smile.)

Do these reactions sound familiar?

They should. As we’ve reported before, more than 60% of small businesses have no plan for emergency preparedness or response. In this crowd of very small businesses – many being operated out of home offices – apparently things were even worse.

Familiar doesn’t mean good. The impact of an emergency on a business with no plan is just plain dreadful. Historically, in nearly half the cases,

  1. The business shuts down and never reopens.
  2. Employees lose their income.
  3. The owner loses his or her income and the entire investment.

Here’s our answer – and our commitment.

At Emergency Plan Guide we research and write about all aspects of preparedness, focusing on three main groups of people: families, neighborhoods and business.

Naturally, there is overlap. A family that is prepared can be an inspiration to neighbors. A neighborhood response group can attract resources to benefit many. A prepared business can stay afloat and support its families and the wider economy.

So, our Advisories and our articles and books strive to meet the needs of each of these groups. But . . .

We think the small business community is most often overlooked.

Resources for the small business seem to fall into two categories – free government websites and programs, and commercial business continuity services including insurance.

All of these have plenty of excellent information, in fact, page after page of it.

And there’s the problem. The typical small business owner is already overwhelmed!

So, here at Emergency Plan Guide . . .

We present basic business continuation information in small, easily digestible bites.

Emergency Preparedness PosterOne of our favorite business tools is a simple, one-page flyer that lists 7 things you can do at work to improve preparedness. The list could be used to develop a full-blown preparedness plan, or it could be used, just one question at a time, to start informal conversations around the lunch table or at a staff meeting.

However you want to use it at your business, feel free. You can get your copy of the flyer here and take a look at how you want to proceed.

Disclosure: Yes, we know this one-pager is awfully lean. We’ll take a look at each item in more detail in coming months. The main thing is for you and your business to get started!

Planning for emergencies will save lives and jobs. There’s no time for planning or training once a disaster strikes.


Virginia and Joe
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

Small business owners sometimes confuse emergency preparedness with workplace safety as required by OSHA. Click to get our Advisory that gives more info on OSHA and its limitations.


Don't miss a single Advisory.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.