Good engineers plan for failure. So do good attorneys. Perhaps this is why "disaster planning" is an area I tend to spend a lot of time on. One planning approach I utilize to start businesses thinking about this topic involves an imaginary "hit by a bus" scenario. Basically, the question asked is "how well positioned will the organization be if [insert name here] is hit by a bus tomorrow and everything they carry around inside their head is suddenly lost to the business?" The real answer to this question can have a tremendous impact upon family members, employees, customers, investors, and many others.
Business owners and entrepreneurs work with us because they want to build and grow their business. Disaster planning is rarely high on their priority list -- especially when most answer the "hit by a bus" question with platitudes such as "we'd be fine" or "all our key info is written down somewhere." The more a business grows, however, the more important such planning becomes. The earlier you can make "disaster planning" a part of normal operations, the better positioned you will be for sustainable success (not to mention the added value it provides should you ever wish to raise outside capital or sell your business -- good planning across all aspects of your business reflects overall competence and stability, both of which will positively influence prospective deals).
Technology is at the core of most critical business operations for just about every company (think point of sale system, accounting system, company website, customer contact information, work product, etc.). It also tends to be taken for granted. For this reason, it is a prime candidate for my "hit by a bus" list. I know the headline promises the top 5 questions. To paraphrase Captain Barbosa from "Pirates of the Caribbean," however, they're really more like guidelines. It's all about embracing the process 🙂
As I recently mused on another topic, successful business leaders manage risk. Each business needs to recognize and assess its key touch points in order to make intelligent choices about how to best manage risk within the context of available resources (time and money). Hopefully, this short list can help move you further down that path.