What’s Continuity Planning? Small Biz Owners Unprepared: Survey

Most small business owners in Canada aren’t prepared for unexpected problems like illness, or flooding that can disrupt their business, even though most have already experienced them, finds a recent American Express survey.

The term “continuity planning” doesn’t mean much to many small business owners—almost half aren’t familiar with the practice, reveals the American Express Small Business Monitor.  And although two out of five respondents to the AmEx survey had already dealt with “significant disruption” to their businesses, the majority (80%) ranked continuity planning as a low priority, and almost half (49%) had no flood or fire insurance.

Few small organizations are ready for the unexpected: 7% consider themselves well prepared, but only 20% acknowledged preparedness planning as a top priority.

Time and money are both barriers to better planning, the survey found: 35% said money stood in the way of preparedness, while a third cited time as a roadblock.  Most small businesses (75%) are even side-stepping cheaper measures, like a staff meeting to talk about potential disruptions.

“In the first few years of a business, the owner tends to be the salesman, the accountant, the head of human resources and the secretary,” Howard Grosfield, vice president and general manager for small business services at American Express Canada said in a statement accompanying the findings. “That doesn’t leave a lot of time for big-
picture planning. As businesses mature, though, and growth allows owners to outsource some activities or hire additional employees, continuity planning becomes more realistic, both from a time and money perspective.”

Business owners are, however, ready for certain kinds of crises—57% have a data back-up plan, 34% have emergency cash reserves, 31% have back-up power systems and 20% have catastrophic illness insurance.

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