September is National Preparedness Month, and we’ve been working together to protect our home businesses from hazards. We’ve all ready started creating business systems so that we can hand off our daily business duties for a short time without needing to provide intensive training to the person taking over. Today, we’re going to create a Grab and Go Business Binder in case we have to evacuate quickly.You may have a Grab and Go Business Binder set up for your home and family. This Grab and Go Business Binder is similar, but it includes all of your important business documents and resources.
How to Create a Grab and Go Business Binder
The Grab and Go Business Binder holds all of your important documents and resources in one portable spot. In the case of an emergency, it’s much quicker to grab a binder than rifle through piles, files, bins, and boxes.
Supplies Needed to Create a Grab and Go Business Binder
There are a few supplies required to create your Grab and Go Business Binder, but you likely have most of them at home.
- A Three-Ring Binder (I’m a big fan of these)
- Sheet Protectors
- Tab Dividers with Pockets
- Hole Punch
- Your important business documents (see below)
Round up all of these items in one place and move on to step #2!
Gather Your Important Documents
Now, we’re going to gather our important documents. These will vary depending on your business.
Here are some examples to get you thinking:
- Emergency Plan
- Business Systems
- Income & Expenses
- Insurance Documents
- Client Contact Information
- Client Files
- Business Documents
- Important Phone Numbers & Emails
- Business License
- Tax Information
- Business Account Information
- Usernames & Passwords
- Business Inventory
- Business Cards
- Tax Returns
- Legal Documents
- Local Emergency Numbers
We’re gathering these in case we need them while we’re evacuated, but also to keep them safe in case of damage to our home offices.
The great thing about starting this process before an emergency occurs is that we can add, subtract, and reorganize our Grab and Go Business Binder over time, as needed.
Add Documents to Grab and Go Business Binder
Now that you have all of your documents gathered, start adding them to your Grab and Go Business Binder.
I categorized my documents before I started adding them to my binder, so that I had some sort of organizational system in place. I used a few of the items listed above as my categories: client files, business documents, business systems, legal documents, and tax information, along with a few categories for my blog files (social media, style guide, etc.).
Once I categorized and sorted, I used my tab dividers to create a place for each category.
You may need to make copies of documents, so you have one to reference, then file the original in your binder. I did some copying, then started adding all of my documents to my Grab and Go Business Binder.
If you don’t want to hole punch your document, you can place it in a clear page protector, then add the page protector to your Grab and Go Business Binder.
Create a Grab and Go Business Binder Inventory
I also typed up an inventory and placed it at the front of my binder.
This helped over the following months, so that I could double check that I’d included this or that document. I could also adjust my binder organization easily, as needed.
A Couple of Additional Thoughts
I’m in the process of going paperless (or as paperless as possible) in my home office. Many of my documents are scanned and stored in my Evernote “filing cabinet.”
This will keep my documents safe in the event of damage to my office. I also have electronic versions of important documents on a thumb drive that I store in a zipped envelope in my Grab and Go Business Binder, in case I need to access them, but can’t do so through Evernote.
Redundant? Maybe, but as the saying goes, better safe than sorry!
I also put a sticky note on the front of my Grab and Go Business Binder to remind me to take my computer with me. My binder and my computer fit in my computer bag, so I can just put it over my shoulder and head out.
Set aside an afternoon to get started on your Grab and Go Business Binder, then continue to tweak the system until you have it just as you want it.
Now, you’re more prepared in the case of an emergency and/or an evacuation!
I felt so good after completing this project. I breathed a figurative sigh of relief knowing that my home business was protected in case we end up in an emergency situation.
Other Posts in the Series
Here are the other posts in the series to help you prepare your home business for an emergency.
Create a Grab and Go Business Binder (in Case of an Emergency)
Important Tech Gear
Mobile Office Preparedness
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