Post-Disaster Advice for Small Businesses

In the aftermath of widespread disasters it’s easy to focus on the families that have lost their homes and the swath of destruction that has taken out miles of coastline or burned many families out of their homes. The pictures can be devastating from a distance.


But, many people fail to realize the huge number of small business owners, members of the community, and members of countless families throughout the area as well have also lost their businesses and livelihoods. As many as 40 percent of small business won’t reopen their doors after a disaster, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Some may not have had business insurance, which is even more devastating. If not exactly lost, many of these businesses are definitely in a precarious position for recovery.


Here are a few tips for business owners struggling in the aftermath of a disaster.


Stay in Touch With Customers and Employees


Times are tough in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and resources may be scarce. That’s why it’s so important to have an email list for your business and contact information for your employees. This allows you to keep in touch, to some degree, when disasters happen so you can inform your employees about what’s going on, what resources you have available, and when you feel as if you’ll have more information to share with them. Keeping in touch with employees and customers alike will help solidify customer and staff loyalty as well.


Utilize Employees who are Available


Not everyone will be available, but it’s a good idea that you take advantage of those who are—and are willing to work—in whatever capacity you can use them. It may be a while before your business operates as it did before the disaster. However, this is an opportunity to learn about new skills and talents your employees may have. The goal is to get your business up and running as quickly as possible and sometimes it takes shifting people around to make that happen.


Start Small with Services and Goods You Can Offer


As a small business owner, you have to accept the fact that Mother Nature packs a powerful punch sometimes. You may not be able to offer the full scope of goods and services you had before but that doesn’t mean you can’t open your doors to the community in order to get things started.


This is an important chance to win your place in the hearts and minds of your community while also starting your own journey to healing both personally and professionally.


Disasters can certainly knock the wind out of the sails of any small business. It’s your response, as the business owner, that will define the future of your business after the storm has passed. Now is the time to roll up your sleeves and start picking up what’s broken and deciding how to make it work again. These tips will help if you keep them in mind and use them well.