Office Depot, Inc. Small Business Index Finds Just One in Three Small Businesses Have a Disaster Plan

Lack of information, time and budget cited as chief reasons for not implementing a plan to protect the business if disaster strikes

BOCA RATON, Fla.--()--Though half of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) believe they are prepared to handle a natural disaster, the vast majority (nearly 70 percent) do not actually have a dedicated disaster preparedness plan in place to respond to events such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, forest fires, landslides or earthquakes, according to the latest Small Business Index conducted by Office Depot, Inc. (NYSE: ODP), a leading global provider of office products, services, and solutions formed by the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax.

Many small businesses want to be equipped to handle an emergency, but cite being unsure of where to start as the largest barrier (22 percent). Others never even thought of having a plan (20 percent) or were limited by the costs or time it would take to create one (11 percent and 10 percent, respectively).

One in three respondents without a disaster plan in place feel their business simply doesn’t need one. This can prove disastrous for SMBs with an estimated 25 percent of small businesses going out of business following a major disaster.1

“As we enter the busiest period of hurricane season, now is the time for small businesses across the country to ensure they have an emergency response plan in place or review existing preparedness measures,” said Gerald McSwiggan, Disaster Manager for Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “From battery backup for your desktops and printers to data storage drives, proactive response materials make sure SMBs are properly equipped and ready to weather any storm. We want to make disaster preparedness simple and accessible for all business owners.”

From a geographic perspective, businesses in the South are most prepared to handle a natural disaster than any other region. Forty percent of southern businesses have a disaster preparedness plan in place, compared to approximately 30 percent in each of the remaining regions – Northeast, Midwest and West.

Mid-size businesses also fair better than their smallest counterparts. More than half of businesses with 50 to 99 employees already have a dedicated disaster preparedness plan in place compared to just 24 percent of companies with fewer than five employees. At the same time, the smallest companies are 10 times more likely than mid-size companies to feel they do not need a plan at all (34 percent and 3 percent, respectively).

If a natural disaster were to strike their business, owners felt the following would be most vulnerable:

  • Internet and phone outages (28 percent)
  • Property damage (24 percent)
  • Lost data and/or customer records (14 percent)

When it comes to minor disasters, SMBs are more prepared. Most report having a fire extinguisher (66 percent), first aid kit (64 percent) and extra supplies such as batteries and flashlights (54 percent), but lack items that would help minimize the potential impact of a large-scale disaster. For example, only 24 percent have backup generators, 17 percent have uninterruptible power supply, and 27 percent have added insurance.

“Though most SMBs have never had to close their business due to a natural disaster, many are still recovering from the devastating effects of disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and last year’s tornado outbreaks. Recent reports of hurricanes and flooding across the U.S. point to the need to raise awareness among SMB owners so they don’t fall victim and become one of the 25 percent who unfortunately aren’t able to recover from a disaster,” said Steve Calkins, executive vice president, business solutions division for Office Depot, Inc.

For complete details on how small business owners can prepare for unplanned interruptions, visit

For small businesses in need of assistance with relief and recovery efforts following a major disaster, they can contact the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s BCLC’s National Disaster Help Desk for Business at 1-888-MY BIZ HELP (1-888-692-4943) or

This 24-hour Help Desk is supported by the Office Depot Foundation – the independent, non-profit that serves as the primary charitable giving arm of Office Depot – and is designed to enhance economic recovery for businesses after a disaster.

Survey Methodology/Sample Qualifications

Interviews are conducted via the Internet among a nationally representative sample of small and medium-sized businesses. The May wave of interviewing was conducted from July 6, 2014 to July 28, 2014 among a total of 1,500 small and medium-sized businesses. Interviewing will be conducted on a monthly basis in order to track shifts that occur over time.

About Office Depot, Inc.

Formed by the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax, Office Depot, Inc. is a leading global provider of products, services, and solutions for every workplace – whether your workplace is an office, home, school, or car.

Office Depot, Inc. is a resource and a catalyst to help customers work better. We are a single source for everything customers need to be more productive, including the latest technology, core office supplies, print and document services, business services, facilities products, furniture, and school essentials.

The company has combined pro forma annual sales of approximately $17 billion, employs more than 60,000 associates, and serves consumers and businesses in 57 countries with more than 2,000 retail stores, award-winning e-commerce sites and a dedicated business-to-business sales organization – all delivered through a global network of wholly owned operations, joint ventures, franchisees, licensees and alliance partners. The company operates under several banner brands including Office Depot, OfficeMax, OfficeMax Grand & Toy, Reliable and Viking. The company’s portfolio of exclusive product brands include TUL, Foray, DiVOGA, Ativa, WorkPRO, Realspace and HighMark.

Office Depot, Inc.’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP. Additional press information can be found at:

1 “Climate Change Preparedness and the Small Business Sector,” Small Business Majority and the American Sustainable Business Council, July 2013.


Office Depot, Inc.
Owen Torres, 561-438-7059

Release Summary

Office Depot, Inc. SMB index cites lack of information, time, and budget as main reasons for not implementing a plan to protect the business if disaster strikes.


Office Depot, Inc.
Owen Torres, 561-438-7059