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Ed Correia is lying in a hospital bed. Praying.
It's May 2009 and Correia, president and CEO of Sagacent Technologies, is recovering from surgery after a stroke has left him partially paralyzed. Doctors tell him he has a 50/50 chance of surviving the next 48 hours.
Correia worries about his family, his home, his business and what will happen to them if he doesn't pull through. He thinks about how his wife has been after him for a couple of years to get a life insurance policy, but he keeps looking for a better deal. Now he isn't going to have enough insurance to make sure the company and his family can go on.
The problem is that Correia tried to do it all. Sagacent, a four-employee firm with annual revenue of $500,000, has been built around him and, in essence, he's become too critical to the company. And now it might be too late to do anything about it. So he prays.
Now, three years later, Correia has survived -- and so has his 12-year-old company. He spoke with CRN about what he was facing while lying in that hospital bed.
"If I died, everything is tied up in the company and I'm instrumental to the company. The company would likely be difficult to get sold. It's my wife's inheritance and the company would probably evaporate or she'd only be able to sell it for a fraction of what it's worth," he said. "That was the No. 1 one thing driving me to come back. It gave me a chance to lie there and say a prayer to right my wrongs."
It's hard to run a successful business every day, but it's even harder to navigate through a crisis such as a serious health issue, fire or natural disaster. But the truth is many small businesses don't take the time to implement a strong business continuity plan, said James Rivera, associate administrator with the Office of Disaster Assistance at the U.S. Small Business Administration, Washington, D.C.
"Most individuals don't think about preparedness until after a disastrous event has occurred. All businesses should have some sort of business plan, but they should also have a disaster plan to keep the business going," Rivera said.
CRN talked with several solution providers who have been through a crisis to gain insight into their challenges: what they did right, what they did wrong and what advice they have for their peers. In all cases, those interviewed said they weren't fully prepared -- or thought they were prepared but really weren't. Most also said they didn't think something would ever happen to them.
Their answers are in line with a recent CRN research study on business continuity in which nearly half (48.3 percent) of 116 survey respondents said they do not currently have business continuity insurance for their company. Among those solution providers, 62.5 percent of them also said they haven't considered buying such a policy, with the biggest roadblocks being cost and their belief that they don't actually need it.
CRN has detailed 10 steps to help businesses build a business continuity plan as developed by the SBA in partnership with Agility Recovery Solutions, a Charlotte, N.C., organization that specializes in business continuity for small businesses and works with the SBA.
In some cases, these tips are lessons learned the hard way by solution providers such as Sagacent's Correia, who spent three and a half months in rehab after his stroke. Today, Correia's left arm has some impairment and he suffers from some hearing loss in his left ear. He struggles, yet walks without a cane. But it's a big improvement from having no movement on the left side of his body immediately after the stroke.
Correia got his second chance. And took no chances with his company or his family’s livelihood.