Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cash Flow "Insurance": A Lesson from Ike

On today's Price of Business I interviewed Larry Korkmas, who is an expert on business disaster and recovery (click image for another recent interview on the subject). On today's show -- the first live one since Hurricane Ike -- we talked about the smart things businesses did and are doing to prepare for disaster.

So many individuals discuss the importance of insurance. There is no doubt about it, you want to protect your property and valuables for a situation like Ike. Unfortunately, insurance only protects cash (or property with money), but it doesn't protect the thing most important to keeping a business going and growing, which is cash flow. Cash flow comes by being able to take care of customers while others cannot. When you hire an expert like Korkmas, companies come as close as possible to having "cash flow" coverage.

Disaster preparedness is the business equivalent of playing "small ball" in baseball. It is about making sure the little things are done in order to keep your company online. Here are just a few examples:

* Companies should maintain a traditional dial up Internet plan so that they will have back up for their WIFI.

* Businesses should get additional wireless from their cell phone providers that they can use on their laptop. "Back up" is the name of the game for disaster.

* Companies should consider getting an 800 number that cannot be affected by such disasters so their clients can at least leave messages, regardless of the phone situation.

* They should know, in advance, the capabilities of the building they work in when it comes to disasters. Does the building have generators? How has it held up in past storms? You want to always ask these questions before disaster hits.

* Following a disaster, be prepared to get on the phone and make calls, put information about your business status and how companies can get help from you online.

* If you can't help your clients in the primary service they have you for, help them any way you can so that when they get to normal, they would include working with you as a part of that scenario.

* Redundancy is crucial. Backup everything on your computer and make sure that it is outside of the disaster area.

Most of the items that will keep you available to your customer are not expensive, but are very valuable. Simply being able to be there for your customer is the most important element in your company's long term survival. Many companies will not be going on long after Ike, those that do will be the ones who placed high priority on the little things that kept their lights on, both figuratively and literally.

Kevin Price articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media.
Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home