What if the lights go out?
Here's a bright idea: Your business should be prepared for a power outage. Too many are not.
According to a recent survey, only 39 percent of small businesses have backup power systems that can keep the lights on, the computers running and employees working during outages. Power outages cost at least $80 billion each year, with most of the losses - 98 percent - borne by businesses, according to a study conducted on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy. Additionally, short outages of five minutes or less accounted for two-thirds of these losses. Small-business owners can protect themselves by taking these steps: 1. Plan, plan, plan. Any disruption can throw a business out of whack, but having a plan can help owners stay focused while their businesses begin to return to normal. 2. Invest in backup power. Install a generator and a power-transfer switch that detects the loss of the main power source and immediately converts to the generator. 3. Protect computer data. Mission-critical components such as PCs, cash registers and other electronics should be connected to battery backup systems known as uninterruptible power supplies. Small-business owners who want to learn about preparing for outages can visit www. emerson.com/smallbusiness. This Web site includes a calculator for measuring a company's vulnerability to the impacts of outages. Ensuring business continuity to help your business maintain a healthy bottom line begins with a plan for using backup power supplies in case your main power source goes down.