Get in the Know with OFB-EZ
For the small business owner, time is money. OFB-EZ – a new, free business continuity tool released May 29 – is designed to help small businesses focus on planning for any type of business interruption, so they can re-open faster and get back to work.
IBHS’ original program to help businesses prepare for disaster is Open for Business® (OFB), which takes a comprehensive approach toward business continuity planning for small and mid-sized businesses. The new streamlined program – OFB-EZ – is easy to use, implement, administer and maintain.
Knowing what risks they face, how to contact key suppliers, vendors and employees without access to electronic records, how to access data, and where to go for help will give small businesses a jump start on recovery if the worst happens. OFB-EZ is designed for the very small business owner, with 10 employees or fewer.
Business continuity planning can make all the difference in a crisis, especially considering that one in four businesses forced to close after a disaster never re-opens, according to Gail Moraton, business resiliency manager at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).
“Spending a few minutes to plan now will save time and money later,” Moraton said. “OFB-EZ takes into account just how busy small business owners are and focuses on the most important things they must do to be better prepared.”
OFB-EZ: For the Small Business Owner in the Know
To get started, a business owner should download the free OFB-EZ toolkit and go through each of the eight modules below. Once finished, the next step is to print out multiple copies of the final plan for quick access in the office in a safe, off-site location and save the files to a flash drive.
- Know Your Risks – Evaluate the extent of your business’ vulnerability to disruptions.
- Know Your Operations – Identify your key business functions and processes and decide how long you can go without being able to perform each of them.
- Know Your Employees – Keep employee contact information updated to locate them after a disaster, inquire about their safety, and inform them about the status of your business operations, where and if they should report and what to do following a disaster.
- Know Your Vendors, Key Contacts and Key Customers – Keep contact information for your key customers, contacts, suppliers and vendors up-to-date.
- Know Your Information Technologies – Protect your company’s hardware and data.
- Know Your Finances – Establishing clear strategies and procedures for controlling costs, reporting information to appropriate organizations and clearly budgeting for and tracking what is actually spent during a significant disruption can have a positive impact on the business’ bottom line performance and recovery.
- Know Where to Go For Help – Maintain a channel of communication with community leaders, public safety organizations such as the police, fire and emergency medical services, government agencies, utility companies, and others
- Know When to Update and Test Your Plan – Schedule regular reviews and updates to your plan.
With OFB-EZ, IBHS is leading the way toward greater resiliency for the even the smallest of business operations. Business continuity planning is constantly evolving in response to improvements in technology and the increased demands on everyone’s time.
“OFB-EZ focuses on the best practices of business continuity planning,” said Moraton, “It is disaster resilience for a modern world where cutting through the clutter can be challenging.”
Learn more about creating a more resilient business at disastersafety.org/open-for-business.
© 2012 Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety