Erika Andresen, Just in Case: Building Resilience with Business Continuity Plans – Innova.Buzz 580

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Erika Andresen, EaaS Consulting.

Our guest in this episode is Erika Andresen, a business continuity professional, army veteran, lawyer, and professor of emergency management. After a career working in actual disasters with life and death consequences, Erika saw that business owners needed similar services to survive but did not know where to start. Erika started EaaS Consulting, LLC, with the goal of keeping businesses in business. She authored “How to Not Kill Your Business: Grow Your Business in Any Environment, Navigate Volatility, and Successfully Recover When Things Go Wrong,” a conversational introduction to business continuity. She has been quoted in Forbes, Dark Reading, Smartsheet, and MoneyGeek.

In our conversation Erika and I explore the importance of business continuity planning. The three key points we covered are:

  • how businesses can thrive amidst disruptions,
  • why investing in business continuity is essential and should be considered an asset, and
  • Erika’s innovative approach to enable businesses to stay resilient.

Arliss Dudley-Cash, who was our guest on Episode 452 introduced us to Erika.

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Business continuity planning is an essential part of reaching long-term success and sustainability. Don't let disruptions derail your dreams! #growthmindset #sustainability @dontkillyourbusiness on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

Show Notes from this episode with Erika Andresen, EaaS Consulting

Episode Summary:

  • Business Continuity: What It Is and Why It’s Important
  • Planning for Disruptions: Using the Weather App and Judgement Calls
  • Making Business Continuity Accessible: Erica’s Book
  • Emergency Management and Business Continuity: Whole Community Response and Business Support
  • Cost-Effective Program: Investing in Continuity Planning
  • Insurance vs. Continuity Planning: Shifting Financial Burden vs. Thriving After Disaster
  • Examples of Effective Continuity Planning: Lessons from Hurricane Maria
  • Challenges Without Continuity Planning: Backup Suppliers, Power Sources, and Safety Stock
  • Critical Questions and Suggestions: Identifying Areas for Improvement
  • Empowering Business Owners: Keeping Dreams Alive and Contributing to the Economy
  • Single Points of Failure: Importance of Control Measures
  • Location Choice: Strategic Planning for Business Continuity
  • Implementing Solutions: Buying a Fire Extinguisher, Backup Generator, and Safe Password Sharing with Multifactor Authentication

In this episode of Innova.Buzz, host Jürgen talks to Erika Andresen about business continuity planning and the need for businesses, particularly small businesses, to plan for disruptions and emergencies.

The episode discusses how most businesses had to pivot quickly during the Covid pandemic, which may have left them vulnerable to cybercriminals or other disruptions. Erika notes that small businesses are particularly at risk of cyber attacks and that layoffs and disruptions to normal operations can also impact business continuity. The goal of business continuity is to be able to continue operations, even in the face of risks and potential failures. Erika compares it to filling potholes on a highway to keep going or checking the weather before going for a run to optimize success with the least amount of discomfort.

Erika emphasizes the importance of having a business continuity plan, as it can help businesses access information during emergencies or disruptions and save their business. She notes that small and medium-sized businesses often cut back spending on business continuity after two years if nothing has happened yet, but it’s important to see it as an investment in the company’s ability to stay alive and grow. It’s a way to keep making money and compete with those who may not have a plan in place.

Erika also speaks about her unconventional career choices and her decision to pursue a career in helping businesses survive disruptions instead of continuing in the legal field. She believes that individuals need to follow their own instincts and do what makes sense to them in order to innovate.

The conversation then shifts to how Jürgen plans his cycling trips by using the weather app and checking for wind and rain. He plans his cycling route based on the wind direction, going out into the wind and returning with the tailwind. He considers the chances of rain and decides whether to go out or not, making a judgment call. Erika suggests people need to change their mindset to prepare for future disruptions, from “just in time” to “just in case” and suggests putting living, adaptable continuity plans in place to become more agile and responsive to any disaster.

Erika’s passion for business continuity and emergency management shines through as she explains how businesses play a vital role in supporting communities during and after natural disasters by providing services, such as serving food or coffee, which help people feel closer to a return to normalcy. She believes that investing in a business continuity plan is more cost-effective than waiting for a crisis to occur and then having to spend more money on recovery efforts. The case of Southwest Airlines illustrates the importance of investing in infrastructure and systems to avoid disruptions and prevent significant financial losses.

Overall, the episode highlights the importance of business continuity planning for the long-term success and sustainability of a business. Erika notes that having someone else come in to ask critical questions and offer suggestions can help business owners identify areas where they need to improve their continuity planning. Businesses need to have control measures in place, even for basic things like fire safety and utility shut-off valves. She emphasizes that identifying problems is not enough, businesses must take the necessary steps to implement solutions, such as buying a fire extinguisher or backup generator, and implementing safe password sharing practices with multifactor authentication.

Listeners interested in business continuity planning or emergency management will find this episode insightful and informative. Erika’s expertise and passion for the subject shines through as she explains the importance of planning for disruptions and emergencies, for both the success of a business and the well-being of its stakeholders.

Investing in a business continuity plan is like filling potholes on a highway, keeping your business going and avoiding bumps along the way. #businesscontinuity #resilience @dontkillyourbusiness on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round 

Here are Erika’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. 1 thing to be more innovative – Choose what makes sense to yourself and have confidence in that.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Play to my skill set.
  3. Favourite resource – Tarot cards!
  4. Keep project/client on track – Invest time to qualify clients up front and get shared buy-in.
  5. Differentiate – Figure out who you are and let that shine in an authentic way.

Action

It’s never too late to invest in business continuity – get ready for next time and treat it as an investment. Always invest in yourself.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Erika through her website.

Suggested Guest

Erika suggested we have a conversation with Mark James of Perfromance Advisors Group on a future InnovaBuzz Podcast episode.

Links:

Book

Cool Things About Erika

  • Erika became an expert in emergency management and business continuity through her decade of experience working in actual disasters and advising on disaster response for an international organization.
  • After starting her professional career as a corporate attorney, Erika felt the call to serve and joined the US Army JAG Corps. She attained the rank of major, advising generals during normal state-side operations, while responding to disasters, and handling terrorist threats in Afghanistan.
  • She also teaches emergency management to graduate students in University of Texas at El Paso’s MPA program.
Investing in a business continuity plan is more cost-effective than waiting for a crisis to occur and then having to spend more money on recovery efforts. #costsavings #riskmanagement @dontkillyourbusiness on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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