Our local businesses are the backbone of our community and natural disasters can quickly ruin them if proper business preparation is put on the back burner. Our weather is getting more extreme every year and it could take one powerful storm to not only create massive physical damage to local business, but cause extended periods of lost income which could cripple businesses. Let’s take a look at some proactive steps our local business can take to make them more resilient in the face of a disaster.
- Check your insurance policies! Standing in three feet of flood water is NOT the time to realize you do not have flood insurance. A quick call to our office and we can tell you what you are and are not covered for and discuss the benefits of increased limits or additional coverages.
- Create a business continuity plan. This goes for small disasters (one that may just affect your business) and large, community-wide disasters. Your small disaster plans may include having a secondary location that you can run your business from (your home, a friend’s office, etc.) while your office/store/shop is repaired. Make sure your client data is backed up offsite so you can continue to service your clients. If your business is big enough, you may want to appoint one person as the “go to” disaster coordinator.
- Create a protection plan. This is as important for businesses as it is for the general population. If a storm is looming do you know where you can store your vital business equipment? Are there items that should be moved to higher ground, disconnected from power, covered or physically secured so they don’t float or blow away? Is your generator fueled up and properly serviced for quick and easy connection (and stored in a place that won’t flood)? Do you have ample supplies to protect your building (plywood, screws, tarps, etc)?
- Establish a communication plan. You will want one for your employees as well as for your clients. Make sure you have up-to-date contact information for all employees and clients. Communicate early and honestly. Let everyone know if you have an issue that impacts their job or your ability to provide your service. Delays of schedule due to large scale disasters are obviously easier for your clients to understand as they are likely standing in a similar flood. But if the disaster is a smaller scale, it is imperative that you have your job schedule and client contact info at your fingertips to update them and come up with a plan.
This all may seem very time consuming and overwhelming, BUT it’s important to take a little time now to establish a clear plan for both yourself and your employees. The time and effort you take now could literally save your business when a disaster strikes.