Last Christmas was memorable for Andrew Kromer – and not in a good way. A pipe burst in the office of his CPA firm, flooding the building and rendering it unsafe and unusable. This type of disaster could have been devastating for his business, but, thanks to proper planning, Kromer was able to stay up and running despite not being able to move back into his office for over eight months.

We recently sat down with Andrew to talk-through his experience – and to share some important lessons that we all learned along the way.

First and Foremost: “Don’t think it won’t happen to you!”

Andrew had no reason to expect this type of disaster. But he was wise enough to recognize that disasters happen and that planning ahead makes all the difference. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy.

“I have been in business for many years and never experienced anything like this, total destruction. It was challenging. It has been frustrating,” says Kromer.

Complete recovery may take much longer than you expect. It’s impossible to have total control over the situation. Supply chain issues can affect the speed of recovery. So can unreliable contractors, waiting for permits and inspections and finding enough qualified labor. The best you can do is to put your resources in the right place now, so that if/when disaster strikes, you’ll be in the best possible position to recover from a disruptive event.

According to Andrew, these investments are non-negotiable:

  • Liability insurance
  • Property insurance
  • A reliable and responsive IT firm

“Fortunately I had insurance,” says Kromer. “It also helped that I don’t scrimp on IT. I use a company that anticipates problems. They plan for disruption. It is part of the service they provide. Proactive dropped everything to help. My investment in insurance, and I include IT services in there, paid off. Proactive delivered. They got me up and running. IT was the one thing that went well when a lot of things were going wrong.”

Lessons learned

According to Andrew, there is no easy way of going through something like this. It is not pleasant. It is humbling. It can be frustrating and stressful. You are at other’s mercy. There are so many things you can’t control.

“The cost of IT and insurance may  seem painful when things are going smoothly. But it is not optional. Save money in other places that don’t involve risk. You may not see the value until something happens, but you’ll be glad you paid when something like this does happen.”

When asked what advice he would give to other small business owners, Kromer says, “Planning for disruption takes discipline. You can’t cut corners. Keep your policies updated. Keep system documentation up to date. It is all part of doing business. Always plan for the unexpected.”

So how can you learn from Andrew’s experience and make sure that your business is prepared for disruption? Stay tuned!

Dedicated to IT security and productivity,      

    – Steve   

    Steve Kennen, president of Proactive IT and cybersecurity expert

    About Steve Kennen

    As an expert in information technology infrastructure management, cybersecurity, and cyber risk management practices for small businesses, Steve spearheads initiatives that keep his clients secure and their business operations running smoothly. His core message is that the details matter.