With major natural disasters, such as earthquakes, flooding and hurricanes, seemingly occurring every year, small business owners need to ensure their businesses are properly prepared.
1. Purchase commercial property insurance – One of the first things small business owners should do is to purchase commercial property insurance. This type of coverage can protect a business from storm damage against the building, inventory, furniture and equipment. Without this coverage, small business owners could find themselves on the hook for a large bill after a natural disaster.
2. Create a disaster recovery plan – To be prepared to continue after a disaster, small business owners need to make sure they have a recovery plan. Employees should be included on this plan, as this will allow for a smooth reopening after a disaster occurs. The plan should include everything that needs to be addressed in a disaster, such as the potential need for alternative office space and what needs to be completed in order for the company to be able to reopen.
3. Prepare the businesses finances – During and after a disaster money could be a major issue. With that said, small business owners need to make sure they have enough cash on hand to keep business operations active. Additionally, having corporate credit cards is a good idea, as certain disasters might make going to the bank difficult. Having business credit cards allow a company to pay for any emergency expenses that might arise without depleting available cash.
4. Keep customers and employees informed – While having a disaster plan is a good start, businesses need to ensure they are keeping their customers and employees in the loop. After a disaster, employees should know how to respond, so they are able to get back to work as soon as possible. Meanwhile, customers should be aware of the plan, which would allow them to be informed and contact the business with any questions if need be.
5. Know the business' risk – To best prepare for disasters, small business owners need to be aware of risk. For example, companies located near the coast, and in areas that are in the path of hurricanes, likely have a higher risk of flood or storm damage. Knowing risk allows a small business owner to purchase to proper insurance protections and have the necessary disaster plan in place.