Nobody knows what tomorrow brings. As both individuals and businesses move forward, there is one thing we can all count on: Surprises. Some will be good, and some will be bad, and while no action involving happy surprises need be considered, some measure of thought should be put into how we will deal with unhappy surprises. We may not know exactly what detrimental events are on the horizon for us, but we all need to have a plan on how to correctly identify disasters, react to them, and enact solutions.

How would you handle it if your business suffered a ransomware attack tomorrow? Do you have a contingency plan in case of a tornado, hurricane, fire, or earthquake? The unexpected can happen anytime, and small businesses can get hit particularly hard.

Small businesses are the backbone of most economies. They create the most jobs in the U.S. and are driving factors for innovation and community development. But running a small business comes with significant risks, including financial uncertainty, market volatility, and natural disasters.

60% of small businesses fail within 6 months of falling victim to a cyber-attack.

Gigantic companies like Walmart, Amazon or Exxon Mobile can take major financial hits and stay afloat. Not so much for most small businesses. Big or small, businesses must prepare for the unexpected as a hedge to ensure their longevity and success.

Any event that can disrupt your business should be addressed in an overall Business Continuity Plan, which details how to keep your operation running in the face of adverse conditions.

Tips for Better Preparedness

  1. Create a Contingency Plan

The first critical step in preparing for the unexpected is to create a contingency plan - a set of procedures that help a business respond to unforeseen events such as natural disasters, supply chain disruptions, unexpected financial setbacks, or cyber-attacks.

The plan should outline the steps the business will take in the event of any type of emergency, and who will be responsible for what tasks, as well as how to communicate with employees, customers, and suppliers.

  1. Maintain Adequate Insurance Coverage

Nobody likes paying for insurance until they need it. Small businesses should always maintain adequate insurance coverage to protect them from unexpected events. Insurance policies should include things like:

Liability coverage

Property damage coverage

Business interruption coverage

Data breach costs

Business interruption coverage is particularly important. It can help cover lost income and expenses during a disruption by unforeseen circumstances.

Aside from standard policies, it is important to have Cybersecurity Insurance. In today’s threat landscape, it has become a major consideration. Cybersecurity insurance covers things like costs to remediate a data breach and legal expenses.

  1. Diversify Your Revenue Streams

If your business relies on a single product or service, you are at greater risk. Unexpected events can prevent you from bringing your product or service to market, which is devastating in terms of cash-flow. Factors such as raw material shortages or a Teamsters strike could cripple an organization without alternatives.

Diversifying your revenue streams can help reduce this risk. It ensures that your business has several sources of income to fall back on. For example, a restaurant can offer catering services. A clothing store can sell merchandise online as well as its physical location.

  1. Build Strong Relationships with Suppliers

We at IT Support LA build strong relationships with our vendors and suppliers in the same fashion we do with our clients, and every small business should do the same. People you have a good rapport with will tend to ‘go the extra mile’ for you when the chips are down. This is particularly important for businesses relying on one supplier for their products.

In the event of a disruption, having strong relationships matters. It mitigates the risk of a supplier bankruptcy or supply chain issue. Having supplier options can help reduce the impact on your business.

  1. Keep Cash Reserves

For many small businesses these days, this is easier said than done, but cash reserves can certainly help you weather unexpected events and cover unexpected expenses like repairs, legal fees, or loss of income. As a rule of thumb, businesses should keep at least six months' worth of expenses in cash reserves.

  1. Build Strong Outsourcing Relationships

If business owners try to do everything in house, they’re at higher risk. For example, if a key IT team member quits, the company could face major security issues through a shortage of manpower.

Build strong outsourcing relationships with an IT Services provider and other critical support services. If something happens to your company’s staff or systems, you will have a safety net.

  1. Check Your Financials Regularly

File this in the folder marked ‘DUH!’, but it still must be said. Small business owners know the state of their finances at any given time. This is to ensure that you stay on track to meet your goals and to identify any potential issues early on.

This includes:

Tracking income and expenses

Creating and reviewing financial statements

Regularly meeting with a financial advisor

  1. Invest in Technology

Investing in technology can help small businesses prepare for unexpected events – specifically with automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI). For example, cloud-based software can help businesses store their data off-site. This ensures that it is safe in the event of a natural disaster or cyber-attack. Technology can also help businesses automate processes. Automation reduces the risk of errors and improves efficiency, while AI can perform simple, yet time consuming tasks, lessening the burden on workers.

  1. Employee Training

Small businesses should train their employees for emergencies. This helps ensure that everyone knows what to do in the event of an unexpected event.

This includes training for natural disasters, cyber-attacks, and other emergencies. Businesses should also have a plan for communicating with employees during an emergency. As well as ensure that everyone has access to the plan.

  1. Keep Up to Date on Regulatory Requirements

Always keep abreast of any changes in regulatory requirements. This helps ensure that you are compliant with all laws and regulations as non-compliance penalties can be costly – especially if you have suffered a data breach. This includes tax laws, labor laws, and industry-specific regulations. Non-compliance can result in fines, legal fees, and damage to your business's reputation.

To summarize, your small business faces many risks, but by following these tips, you can be better prepared deal with the unexpected.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should be included in a business continuity plan?

A: The main seven elements that must be included within any BCP:

1) Designated Team: Who is in charge? What is each team member responsible for?
2) Exact Details: Cover every contingency in fine detail. No guesswork, no false hopes.
3) Testing: The BCP must be tested regularly and evaluated; deficiencies discovered and corrected.
4) Communications: Must be clear, concise, and effective – no ambiguities.
5) Employee Safety: Know your escape routes and local resources. This above all else.
6) Continued Access: Employees must be able to continue working remotely.
7) Uninterrupted IT Support: Continuity of data ensures continuity of work.

Q: What are the 3 elements of business continuity?


1) Personnel Recovery: Everybody back to work ASAP.
2) Recovery Procedure: Who does what – step by step.
3) Data Backup: Without secured, retrievable data, nothing is possible.

Q: Who should create business continuity plan?

A: This should be  developed with collaboration and input from every department head - especially Information Technology whether in-house or outsourced.

Q: What is the most common type of disaster in the US?

A: Flooding is the most common and widespread natural disaster in the U.S. While most communities in the Greater Los Angeles area have little reason to fear natural flooding, if one of your prime suppliers or vendors is victim to a flood, it can certainly have negative ramifications for your business.

How secure is your network?

As a reputable member of the IT Support Los Angeles community since 2002, IT Support LA offers a FREE, no-risk network and security assessment. It is a non-intrusive scan that allows us to deliver a comprehensive report that is yours to keep. No strings, and no obligation to ever use our Managed IT Services.

The best defenses are expert Cybersecurity to protect your data from theft, and a top-notch MSP to ensure continued reliability and defenses against newly emerging threats.

With our 100% Money Back Guarantee in writing, we offer a risk-free way for prospective clients to try us out. Because we do not require a ‘hard’ contract, our clients can fire us at any time with 30 days’ notice. We have to be good.

Among the Managed IT services we provide:

IT HelpDesk Service
Onsite IT Support
Cloud migration and management
Email migration services
Backup and disaster recovery
VoIP phone systems
IT disposition and recycling
Office moves
White label services (IT to IT)

IT Support LA is an award-winning Managed Services Provider (MSP):
o  3 Years awarded Best IT Support by the Small Business Expo
o  Awarded 2nd best company of any type in the US by the Small Business Expo SB100
o  Awarded Best IT Support in California by Channel Futures
o  Winner of Best IT Support in Los Angeles by Channel Futures
o  Listed as one of the world’s Top 501 MSPs by CRN and in the top 250 in the   ‘Pioneer’ listing
o  4 years listed as one of the Top 501 MSPs in the World by Channel Futures
o  Listed as #21 Managed Services Provider in the World in Channel Futures NextGen 101
o  Globee 2021 Bronze Award winner for Chief Technology Officer of the Year
o  Globee 2022 Gold Award winner for Chief Technology Officer of the Year
o  Named one of 2022’s 50 ‘Best’ businesses in California by UpCity
o  Named Best of IT winner by UpCity
o  Winner of Local Excellence Award for 2021, 2022 and 2023 by UpCity
o  Named Best of Cloud Consulting winner by UpCity
o  Certified as Top Managed Services Provider and Cybersecurity Pro by UpCity
o  Named Best IT Services in Los Angeles by

Improve Business Continuity & Disaster Preparedness

Get started on a path to resilience and protect your business interests. We can help you prepare for the unexpected. Give us a call today to schedule a discussion and take advantage of our FREE network and security assessment.