Why Small Business Is Unprepared for Disaster

By CHRIS ROHRS, CBCP, MBCI, Retired Senior Business Continuity Analyst

CHRIS ROHRSI know that small businesses are unprepared for disasters and I'd like to offer some suggestions on why this is the case:

Business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) professionals tend to make our business complex and hard to understand. We start talking about recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) and mean time between failures (MTBFs), and we bury people in jargon. Yet, what we do is not complex rocket science. The small-business owner wants something easy to understand.

Small businesses don't have the financial resources to invest in expensive solutions, software or consultants.

Small businesses don't have the time to invest in manual analysis, and plan development and testing. They want something that is quick and accurate.

There is a lot out there on the Internet related to small-business business continuity. A Google search on “small business business continuity” generated 17 million hits. It's like drinking from a fire hose. Small-business owners don't have the time to winnow through this chaff.

Many small businesses don't even know that there are business continuity planners out there. I remember telling my optometrist, who had her own small business, what I did. Her response was: "What a wonderful idea! I never thought of that!"

If we can reach small-business owners, we still have to convince them that business continuity is worth the investment. Many of them are trusting to luck and insurance.

We as BC professionals can't even agree on what should be in a business continuity plan. We don't offer a plan framework that we can all agree on or even a common set of terms. So what can we, as a profession, offer small businesses when they hear one thing from one BC planner and something different from another?

I will let my colleagues offer their own comments and suggestions on why tens of millions of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not prepared — then we can get into hashing out solutions.

What’s your take? Please feel free to comment below.

More in Operations