ST. LOUIS - According to the results of a recent survey commissioned by Emerson Network Power, if the power goes out, America’s small businesses will not be properly prepared. When considering that 79 percent of the small-business decision-makers surveyed experienced at least one power outage in 2007; 67 percent of respondents anticipate experiencing outages again in the next 12 months; and of the small businesses that experienced outages in 2007, 42 percent had to close their businesses during the longest outages; the issue is not really if the power will go out but when.

While small-business decision-makers ranked outages above fire, government regulation, weather damage, theft, and employee turnover as threats to their businesses, only 39 percent of them have back-up power systems, leaving 61 percent vulnerable to the negative business effects of outages, according to the report.

“Keeping the lights on, the computers running, and employees working during a power outage is important for any business, but particularly for small businesses,” said Ed Feeney, an Emerson executive vice president who heads up Emerson Network Power’s Systems business. “Their margin for error is thinner and the competition is tighter, so even a brief outage can do significant harm. This makes back-up power systems a fundamental part of business continuity.”

In a tight economy, a significant power outage could potentially put a small business in the red. On average, power outages cost about $80 billion each year, with 98 percent of the financial losses borne by businesses, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Emerson’s survey findings are alarming considering that more than 99 percent of all American businesses are small businesses, with these companies generating 45 percent of the total U.S. payroll,” said Steve Strauss, nationally syndicated business columnist and author ofThe Small Business Bible.

“It is critical that small enterprises have a business-continuity plan that includes back-up power systems to keep the business running when the main power source goes down.”

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Publication date:09/01/2008