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How to Prepare Your Business for Any Disaster with Erika Andresen

May 05, 2023
Walking around a business alley

In a world of uncertainty, it's important to be prepared for unexpected disasters and disruptions. This is where business continuity comes in. But why do so many businesses, especially small to medium-sized enterprises, fail to invest in business continuity? According to Erika Andresen, the author of the book “How Not to Kill Your Business: Growing Your Business In Any Environment, Navigate Volatility, and Successfully Recover When Things Go Wrong”, the biggest challenge is that many businesses see it as an expense rather than an investment.

What is Business Continuity?

Simply put, business continuity is the process of creating a plan to ensure that your business can continue to operate in the event of a disaster or disruption. This could include natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes, as well as disruptions to your supply chain or IT infrastructure.

One of the challenges of business continuity is determining where to focus your efforts. Andresen recommends starting with a risk impact analysis to determine which operations are critical to keeping your business running. From there, you can assess your recovery time objective, or how long you can be without a particular service and still be a viable business.

Challenges of Business Continuity

But even with a solid business continuity plan, there are still challenges. For example, if you're getting supplies from another community that's been impacted by a disaster, there may be knock-on effects that hamper your own recovery. And if you're a small or medium-sized business, you may not have the same level of resources as larger companies or government agencies.

This is where public-private sector engagement becomes critical. Private businesses can work with local and national government agencies to ensure that critical infrastructure is maintained and that resources are available in the event of a disaster. And as Andresen notes, private businesses can also be a source of innovation and ingenuity in responding to disasters.

So what can you do to ensure that your business is ready for the unexpected? Andresen uses the example of starting with a comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) that incorporates stakeholders from across the community. This can help ensure that all parties are working together to build capacity and guide economic prosperity and resilience.

It's also important to remember that business continuity isn't just about responding to disasters. Disruptions can come in many forms, from a vital piece of machinery failing to work to a major shift in leadership. By understanding your primary operations and determining your recovery time objectives, you can create a plan that will help you weather any disruption.


In conclusion, business continuity is an essential part of running a successful business in today's uncertain world. By focusing on your primary operations, assessing your recovery time objectives, and working with public and private sector partners, you can ensure that your business is prepared for anything that comes your way.