Developing a Post-Disaster Business Plan
Now that you have taken stock of your business, it is the time to review your business strategy and create a new or revised business plan for your post-disaster future. Ask yourself, what would you want your business to look like to satisfy you as the business owner and your clients? There are a variety of business plan templates and tutorials online to assist you with such a process, visit the Business website and searching “How to develop your business plan”.
When developing or revising your business plan, be sure to consider as many alternatives for your business as necessary. These can include:
- continuing to operate as per your pre-disaster business model
- continuing to operate as per your pre-departure business model while seeking to improve the performance of the business
- changing your business model
- exiting the business altogether.
As the authors of ‘Are U Ready? Surviving Small Business Disaster’* state; ‘Remember, the decisions you make at this point concerning your business, if not thought through very carefully, could be detrimental to your future. Your decision could also have an impact on many other people, including the broader community, and could affect others’ livelihood as well.’
In developing or revising your business plan, we suggest collating all the information from the steps you took to take stock of your business immediately following the disaster.
Documenting assumptions in your business plan is important, however it may be difficult to make assumptions in a post-disaster environment - past experiences may no longer be relevant, and the market may have changed significantly, at least in the short term. The evaluation of the market following a disaster will help you formulate your business assumptions.
When determining your assumptions, you should use realistic targets. Using your historic financial information and looking for any trends in this information is a good place to start, but don’t forget to take into consideration any changes post disaster. Any industry information provided by independent reputable companies will give your assumptions credibility.
Make sure you write down all the assumptions. Areas that are specific to the disaster, such as delayed compliance payments, forward orders and reopening costs should form part of your assumptions.
*Surviving Small Business Disaster, Anthony Turner and Sandra Slatter, 2012.
Checklist for developing or revising your business plan following a disaster (PDF, see pages 20 and 21)
Assumptions for Your Business Plan
To develop your post-disaster business plan, you should develop a list of key drivers of your business and the assumptions you are making for those key drivers. You may find it difficult to develop assumptions in a post-disaster environment.
List of assumptions template (PDF, see page 22)