High Alert Institute



Avoiding an Investment Disaster: Investment Triage

by | Jun 13, 2007

Whether investing in a start-up company, an infant enterprise poised for rapid growth, or an established company seeking expansion capital the investor is always faced with one simple question, “Will this work?”


The question of feasibility is often couched in such phrases as ROI – Return on Investment; profit and loss analysis; and risk-benefit ratios.  Regardless of how we phrase it the question still comes down to feasibility.  If the investor is fortunate enough to be well versed in the technology, language, processes, practices, and preferences of the market then they are often able to make a reliable prediction of the feasibility of a venture seeking capital.  


However, if an investor takes a diverse approach to their investment portfolio then they must learn to analyze business plans in a fashion that allows them to determine if the conclusions drawn are applicable within the market of that venture.  


In the disaster field office community, emergency and disaster plans are practiced and evaluated by master exercise professionals who have researched the resources and challenges of an individual community or business. However, these professionals do not live in this community nor do they work with any of the many agencies and organizations that must coordinate as part of the plan.  When evaluating plans, the lesson learned in the disaster field office is to evaluate the plan by evaluating the factors that the planner took into account.  


Whether planning for a hurricane, terrorist attack, or to recover from a business misstep or the challenges of business growth the process of planning is the same.  


The first step in the process is to list the specific goals (products) that are the expected outcome of the plan.  In a hospital the “product” of a disaster plan is the preservation of life; for a community, the “product” of a disaster plan is the safety of its citizens and the restoration of normal community function.  When evaluating a business plan the “product” of the business should be clear to the reader because then the investor knows that it is clear in the mind of the entrepreneur.  Further, this “product” should be clearly stated in the corporate mission plan as well as be the obvious outcome of all stated business objectives.  This ensures that the same clarity of ultimate purpose that exists for the entrepreneur exists for every member of the organization.  It must be inescapable.


The second step in planning is the evaluation and prioritization of business processes.  This gives an insight into whether or not the entrepreneur knows how to actually produce their “product”; how to achieve their stated goal.  Business processes are divided into three categories when applying business triage.  These categories are red or critical, yellow or essential and green or supportive.  


Business processes that are deemed red (critical) must be supported by all available resources and it must be clearly stated within a business plan that in the event of limited resources such as capital these red (critical) business processes will receive all necessary capital to maintain the process.  Business processes that should be deemed red (critical) will vary within industries but they should be obvious and logical once stated even to a reader outside of the industry.  Further, there are business processes that are red (critical) in any new or expanding business; these would include marketing, advertising, public relations, essential staff and employees, essential materials, essential accounting, and essential legal services.  The investor should also have a list of red (critical) business processes that in their own experience have made the difference between successful and unsuccessful investments.  This means that not only should it be obvious if not actually stated that the entrepreneur establish some form of triage for their business processes but the investor must have triaged all business processes within their experience and expertise.


Business processes deemed to be yellow (essential) are those that support and facilitate the production of the “product” of the business; however, the “product” can still be produced if these processes are temporarily suspended.  It is not unusual to find yellow (essential) business processes mistaken as red (critical) business processes because while they are essential for smooth of the business, the venture can continue for a period of time in a resource limited environment without these yellow (essential) processes.  As with the red (critical) business processes it should be obvious which processes the entrepreneur has determined to be yellow (essential) and it should be equally obvious and stated how the business will continue to operate should these yellow (essential) business processes need to be curtailed or suspended in a resource limited or capital limited situation.  


Similarly, the investor should have a list of business processes which they deem to be yellow (essential) and therefore of high priority but suspendable in the event of severe capital or resource restriction.  Although most entrepreneurs would balk at the idea of their own salary being on the yellow (essential) rather than the red (critical) list the entrepreneur’s salary should in part if not in whole be on this yellow (essential) list.  This list should be significantly restricted and market/industry specific.  The yellow (essential) list should never include business processes that if suspended even temporarily would result in a threat to the ability to produce the “product” of the venture.


Green (supportive) processes are those that may be halted without significant impact upon the production of the “product” of the company.  The list of green (supportive) business processes in most ventures whether long established or start-up is significant.  In the disaster field office we find that green (supportive) services constitute 80 percent or more of all efforts extended by businesses, health, healthcare, and communities.  


The third step in planning in a business triage model is to have clear and definitive perimeters by which business processes are assigned to the red, yellow and green lists.  In healthcare, this triage is performed based on an individual’s breathing, pulse and mental function.  Breathing is evaluated based on hard numbers (green is a breathing rate of 12 to 20); pulse (green is a heart rate of 60 to 100); and mental function (awake versus unresponsive, alert versus confused) are essential processes of the product of healthcare; life and therefore are the processes monitored, stratified and given definitive perimeters for measurement. In the same way, each business process whether or not financial should have specific perimeters by which not only will its success be monitored and measured but against which its relative importance in the production of the “product” of the venture and therefore its triage level (red, yellow or green) can be reproducibly established.


The fourth step in planning under a business triage model is to enumerate one’s support, that is one’s sources of alternate resources both raw materials and capital to use in the event of adversity in the form of internal or external business challenge, unexpected market performance, or even community wide disaster.  


In the disaster field office we have learned that most disaster plans for businesses, healthcare and communities are based on the “best case scenario.”  A business plan should be “drilled” in the same way a disaster plan is “drilled” with the goal of causing to fail within ten minutes and then evaluating how those who must now work with a failed plan actually perform under those circumstances.  In the disaster field office we utilize a technique known as the “Flumann Factor.” 


The Flumann Factor is the introduction of a realistic and likely adverse event into the plan while it is being drilled.  The “Flumann Factor” is designed specifically to overwhelm one or more essential business processes thus causing a cascading failure within the disaster plan or in the case of an investor evaluation, the business plan.  An appropriate and rapid reassignment of resources based on a business triage model that is resources first dedicated to red (critical) business processes will invariably support the business through the effects of the “Flumann Factor”.  An expert plan reviewer ensures that the “Flumann Factor” introduced is not so overwhelming as to be unrecoverable by any business man in any market.


A business plan, like a disaster plan, must be structured to concentrate all available resources on the most critical business processes in support of the “product” of the plan or venture will represent a sound investment for the prudent investor regardless of whether or not they are well experienced within the market of the venture seeking your capital.


Griffin Works offers Pawsitive Interactions with Service Dogs During Response Operations©, an audience-customized training that breaks down barriers by offering hands-on handling training and demonstrations with working service dogs for fire departments, EMS agencies, and public safety organizations.

Part of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium and home to the National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center, TEEX has been leading homeland security training since 1998. The major TEEX programs include fire and rescue, infrastructure and safety, law enforcement, economic and workforce development, and homeland security. As a member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX is unique in its ability to access a broad range of emerging research and technical expertise. Beginning with course design and development all the way through hands-on instruction and national certification testing, TEEX delivers comprehensive training through both classroom and hands-on instruction and as online courses.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. This unique network of child-serving professionals, caregivers and young adults, researchers, and national partners is committed to changing the course of children’s lives by improving their care and moving scientific gains quickly into practice across the U.S. The NCTSN is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and coordinated by the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS). 

The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The EMI provides national leadership in developing and delivering training to ensure that individuals and groups having key emergency management responsibilities possess the requisite skills to effectively perform their jobs.

The High Alert Institute maintains a list of reviewed courses provided by governments, universities and professional organizations. This list is geared towards the non-emergency management person who participates in disaster planning, preparedness, response, recovery or mitigation as part of their job responsibilities.

The High Alert Institute has partnered with Shutterstock to distribute stock images from the nature images donated by our supporters. For eligible stock images, Shutterstock will donate a portion of the royalty to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to Shutterstock customers.

For eligible purchases through AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to AmazonSmile customers. All you need to do is push the SMILE NOW button and select to support THE HIGH ALERT INSTITUTE on AmazonSmile.

Koi need forever homes, too! For pond enthusiasts, freshwater exotic and ornamental fish may not be available through pet stores or rescues in their area. The High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program will be happy to assist you in stocking your new pond or adding a new finned friend to your school. Coming soon – when you adopt a Koi from the High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program, we can arrange for delivery to your door anywhere in the continental United States.

Have you always wanted a Koi pond but don’t have the space one? Sponsor a Koi in our community shelter pond and we send you photos of your sponsored animal. Coming soon are live Koi Cameras above and below the water to enjoy your sponsored Koi anytime.

Dumping of freshwater non-native species and exotic aquatic pets into wild habitats is a man-made disaster that is truly preventable. The Institute’s Aquatic Pet Welfare Partnership works to raise awareness and reduce the impact on healthy ecosystems through education, as well as rescue and rehoming. Joined by champions of animal welfare and environmental stewardship, this  association of aquatic pet rescue operations and aquatic pet shelters across the United States aims to save our finned friends and preserve our waterways together.

Want to share our cause with family, friends, and colleagues? Looking for a non-traditional way to celebrate a birthday or honor someone special? Support the Institute by starting your own Peer-to-Peer fundraising challenge! Let your contacts know why our mission is important to you and what they can do to support your cause. START YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER for the High Alert Institute.

From the staffing pool to the shelter ponds, from the boardroom to the classroom, and from reading the science to writing the analyses, High Alert Institute programs and services benefit from the experience, expertise, and generosity of our volunteers. Put your talents to use for good and to good use – VOLUNTEER TODAY.

Make your donation twice as nice by rehoming aquatic pets and providing a rehabilitation companion pet to a deserving person, family, or facility. Sponsor part or all of a Joy of Koi Program pond installation – complete with rehomed koi – and give the gifts of love and recovery.

Professional photographers, amateurs, and legal copywrite holders are all welcome to participate in the High Alert Institute Nature Photo Donation Program. Sales of the images benefit the Institute and donors are eligible for tax deductions equivalent to the fair market value of their photos. Landscapes, seascapes, animals, flowers – all may be accepted – whether new or vintage  images. People may be included in the photo but only if unidentifiable (i.e., blurred figures at a distance).

Did you know that unused patents and copyrights can be donated to charity? Intellectual Property (IP) just sitting on a shelf will lose value as it becomes obsolete. The High Alert Institute IP Donation Program seeks to rescue stranded, technology-related IP with the potential for development into marketable products. Once accepted by the program, the owner/inventor is eligible for a tax deduction equivalent to the fair market value of the IP. The Institute receives the patent licensing fees or revenue from the sale of the IP to businesses, helping us to fund our mission. In turn, businesses are able to advance their markets and create jobs for less money than starting a project from scratch.

Disasters are defined as situations in which needs exceed or overwhelm available resources. Some disasters affect an entire community, while other disasters impact individuals and families. Crises of physical or psychological health can be very personal disasters.
The therapeutic value of pets during illness, trauma, and recovery is well established. And Koi fish may be well suited for people who are not able to provide verbal pet commands or physically care for pets like dogs and cats. Koi ponds are also a source of beauty and peace, providing an ideal setting for quiet reflection or meditation.
We are working to partner with pond installers and aquatic pet rescues/shelters to offer free or reduced-cost ponds with rehomed Koi fish to people seeking this type of pet therapy.

Disasters disrupt life and impact our sense of personal, family, and community safety. Survivors and responders alike often are not aware of the emotional, psychological or spiritual challenges that they may face from disaster onset through recovery. With two decades of experience training responders and communities to prepare for the behavioral health aspects of disasters, we will continue to provide education and a curated list of resources to groups or individuals.

Non-medical factors that impact overall health are termed Social Determinants of Health or SDoH. Noise pollution, poor air quality, and poor water quality are three environmental factors known to have a strong link to overall health. And the same environmental factors that impact humans impact their pets and other animals in their care. We continue to assist in advocacy, education, and technology development to mitigate the impact of SDoH on humans and animals alike.

Our efforts in shelter and rescue are the main focus of our environmental stewardship, reducing the environmental impact of non-native aquatic animals being dumped into public waterways. The High Alert Institute also assists innovators with the design, development, and evaluation of green and renewable energy technologies. Reducing the carbon footprint associated with disaster preparedness, response, and recovery furthers our continued mission to mitigate risk and improve resilience.

We partner with public and private organizations, sharing resources and fostering partnerships to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and mitigation.

The High Alert Institute team has over a century of combined research experience in medical, nursing, behavioral health, and disaster sciences. Our team provides support to researchers and technology developers through comprehensive literature searches and reviews, as well as failure mode database searches and adjudicated reviews.

When disaster strikes, most aquatic pet owners have limited options to secure the safety of their pets. Sheltering in place may not be possible if there is no power to provide aeration and “pet-friendly” shelters do not include ponds or aquariums. Our goal is to provide an option for aquatic pet owners in need of rescue and shelter for their finned friends.

Our goal is to share our two decades of disaster readiness experience with animal welfare organizations, shelters, caretakers, and pet owners, as they implement contingency  plans for natural and manmade disasters.

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High Alert Institute

4800 Ben Hill Trail
Lake Wales, FL 33898
Office: 863.696.8090
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