A Business Planning Format for Disaster Recovery

May 14, 2020

Finding the right business planning format is essential to the success of a business. Here is what you need to consider for disaster recovery.

Image of a phoenix rising, as a sign of plannig for disaster recovery.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses had never experienced a disaster.  Now, however, most U.S. businesses have been impacted, to some degree, by this crisis.  While we could hope that all businesses had a disaster recovery plan in place before this worldwide event, we know that’s not realistic.  Furthermore, sometimes it’s hard to know which business planning format is appropriate for your business, especially during unprecedented times.

So, let’s brainstorm your business’s rebound by identifying components in a disaster recovery business planning format, as you anticipate the start of your new normal.

Dream-Phase Planning

I want you to take a moment right now, shut your eyes, and remember back to the day when your business was a mere dream.  It may have been an actual dream, or it perhaps it was an idea, blossoming from some sudden inspiration. Either way, it started within your mind, and eventually became too large remain contained within your skull.  It had to get out, and therefore you needed a place to put it.  Whether or not you realized it, you sought out a business planning format to suit your proposal.

Well, that planning format clearly worked at the time, otherwise you wouldn’t have ever launched.  Now, on the other hand, that particular format might not be ideal for what you have to do to recover your business.  It’s time to start thinking in a new direction.

Revised Dream Planning

Since many companies are not going to be able to resume business as usual, pivoting will be key.  Those of us who wish for our business to survive this disaster are going to need to need to be flexible.  So, now is a good time to start getting into revised dream planning mode.  This means, we are going to need to identify a business planning format that works for our dream for our business going forward, as opposed to our dream prior to launch. 

Now it’s important to note that the actual layout for the business planning format is less important than the components.  In other words, this is a classic case of function over form.  Specifically, you already identified how to launch and operate your business within your original business plan.  Now, you need to consider how you will rebound from a crisis, and be prepared should another disaster strike.

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Business Recovery Plan Components

When thinking about the right business planning format, there are several essential components to a business recovery plan.  These components include the following:

Continuity Plan

This is where you will identify the next steps for getting the business up and running again, after a disaster has taken place.  For example, will you reopen in phases, or will you have a grand reopening?  Or, will the particular disaster determine your reopening strategy?  Furthermore, what will it take to relaunch?  Do you have the necessary funding and workforce available to resume operations?  Or, will you need to seek capital and hire additional workers?

Emergency Response

There are several pieces involved in the emergency response portion of the business planning format.  These pieces include steps to ensure safety of employees, updated employee contact information, and a solid communication strategy.  This component of the planning format is especially important, since employees rely on it to feel safe returning to work.  It’s a good idea to communicate your emergency response plan to employees, even before they agree to return to work.

Insurance Coverage

It is essential that all businesses protect themselves with insurance coverage for unforeseen events.  So, we recommend meeting with your trusted insurance broker to complete this portion within the business planning format.  Besides making sure you have the appropriate levels of insurance coverage, you should also be aware of what the Small Business Association can do for you.  Such assistance includes expert advice and the opportunity to apply for disaster loans.


This is where you will build your company bunker.  In all seriousness, even if you don’t subscribe to a doomsday mentality, it’s important to be prepared.  Consider all the things you might need to have on hand for a disaster.  Simple things like bottled water, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers are easy to access, and don’t take up much space.  You could keep larger items like a generator, sandbags, and fans offsite in a storage unit or in a shed.  Just make sure you keep a list of emergency supplies, and where they are located.

Photo of men in fatigues moving supplies within a bunker, planning for a disaster.

Once you have these components in place, you can begin to identify other elements to include in the format that will enhance your post-disaster business plan.

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A Fresh Start

Sometimes disasters can come with a silver lining.  For example, perhaps there were things about your business that you had been wishing you could do differently, but it would have taken too much to change.  Time, resources, and effort weren’t on your side then, but now, things are different.  A disaster could give you an opportunity to consider a fresh start for your business.  You could take all you’ve learned, and your newly acquired perspective, and emerge from the disaster like a Phoenix.  Your business planning template could include space for you to reconfigure aspects of your business that could be improved upon. 

Rebound to Recover

Regardless of your tenure in business, the current crisis we are all experiencing has rocked us to our core.  Nevertheless, if we are to recover, we need to keep that chin up, with eyes set on the future.  A solid business planning template is a great way to make the future feel more doable. 

So, remember to include the most important components in your planning format: emergency response, continuity plans, insurance coverage, and supplies.  You can branch out from there.

Once you have a plan in place, you will begin to feel more optimistic about recovering from anything life throws at you.  After all, it’s not only your skillful shooting to score, but your ability to rebound and then try again.

Image of basketball players going for a rebound.

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