Any entrepreneur or small business owner knows that getting your business up and running requires a lot of hard work and dedication. You want to make sure you do everything you can to protect yourself and your business, so you don’t lose everything you have worked so hard for. But when it comes to natural disasters such as hurricanes, damage can be quick and extensive.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of small businesses do not reopen after a natural disaster, and of those that do reopen, 52% of owners say it would take them at least three months to recover. We want to make sure you are prepared to get your business up and running again as quickly as possible after a natural disaster, so we have put together a list of things you should know to help prepare for a potential natural disaster that will help you expediate the recovery process after a natural disaster.
PREPARE IN ADVANCE
The best thing you can do to help make the recovery process from a natural disaster as easy as possible is to be well prepared for any potential disasters well in advance. If you are waiting until a storm warning has been issued, you likely will not have enough time to get everything you need to get done. But if you consider preparing for a natural disaster just one of the many necessary tasks that needs to be done when running a business, then you will be well prepared for any natural disaster that may come your way. Here are some tips you should consider when preparing:
- Make Sure You Have Adequate Insurance Coverage – this is one area that you definitely do not want to gamble with. When it comes to disaster relief and recovery, having adequate insurance coverage will make all the difference. Contact us today to have a licensed agent review your current coverage and make sure your business is properly protected!
- Form An Emergency And Disaster Recovery Plan – unfortunately, an astounding 75% of small business owners do not have an emergency and disaster recovery plan in place! An emergency and disaster recovery plan should be something that is formed between you and other key employees within your business. Identify any areas of risk and tasks that will need to be completed after a disaster, and make sure each person has assigned tasks and understands what they will be responsible for.
- Consider A Back-Up Location – if you are able to, consider having a designated back-up location such as an employee’s home or a satellite location in which business can continue to run as usual if disaster strikes.
- Keep Documents And Records Organized – staying organized is extremely important when it comes to disaster preparedness. Gather and organize any important business documents and records such as invoices, bank statements, insurance policies, employee payroll and contact information, federal and state tax returns, purchase agreement, business contracts, and budgets. All of these documents will be helpful in the recovery process when you speak with your insurance agent. The true key is to make sure you will be ready to quickly grab and go with all of these important business documents and records in the event that a mandatory evacuation is issued.
- Employee And Customer Preparation And Communication – communicating well to both your employees and customers before and after a natural disaster will make the recovery process a lot less stressful for everyone. Your employees should be well informed and knowledgeable of the company’s emergency plan and on how they can receive updates regarding the business from you. Your customers should be able to access your company’s emergency contact information for sales and service support, your back-up business location, and alternative methods for placing orders and making payments.
- Save For The Unexpected – because it is impossible to predict if and when a natural disaster will strike, and what the damage will be afterwards, it is best to start putting together savings as early as possible to prepare for the unexpected. You want to have a minimum of 30 days’ worth of savings to cover your expenses. This emergency savings will help you keep up with employee wages and other business expenses while you wait to complete insurance claims, apply for business loans if needed, and undergo the process of repairs.
- Take Pictures – taking pictures before any damage occurs is important so you will have physical proof to show to insurance adjusters if claims need to be made for damages after a natural disaster occurs. Make sure you have pictures of your business’ building outside and inside, the parking lot, furniture, appliances, and equipment.
- Stock Up On Supplies – for some natural disasters we do get advanced notice to give us time to stock up on supplies. But for others, such as tornadoes, we often do not have much time to prepare. Make sure your business is well stocked with supplies such as water and flashlights at all times.
Making sure you are well prepared in advance of any unexpected natural disaster is the best thing you can do for your small business. Contact us today to speak with a licensed insurance agent who can review your current business insurance coverage, assess any risks, and make sure you have adequate coverage to protect your business long-term!