The New York City transit strike is over, but it got a lot of us thinking about what to do if we couldn't get to the office--something that could happen anywhere, for many reasons.
SmallBizTechnology.com--written by Ramon Ray, who's working on a piece for us about how to choose phone systems for small business--has some useful tips that boil down to, essentially, making sure you can fully telecommute. Be sure that every crucial file is accessible remotely, that everyone has all of the contact info they need, and that every key staff member is included in the emergency plans.
Consider, too, that whatever keeps you from getting to the office could also knock out communications or electricity. Can you keep your business functioning even then? Think about backup power and about moving operations to a remote location outside the affected zone where someone in another state (or country) could run your business from there temporarily. If you're a retailer, will you still be able to sell your wares? Can you get the supplies you need? What opportunities would the disaster afford? Mainly, it's a question of brainstorming the worst-case scenario--roads closed, landlines and cell lines out, office inaccessible, no electricity, people unreachable, and so on--then working back from there. Think "What if...," then consider a solution that matches your situation.
If the worst does happen, there are disaster recovery resources available, including loans and employment assistance.