When a catastrophic disaster comes through a region, we hear about the loss of lives, personal possessions, and homes. Yet we rarely hear about the loss of income and jobs! With just under half the workforce working for a small business, the loss of employment and income follows when a catastrophe hits. There is a compounded sense of stress and worry for the business owner and the employees.
The impact of natural disasters on businesses
Dangerous natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, floods, wildfires, and tornadoes, seem to have become more frequent. It may be the result of climate change or technological advancements that we hear more about these devastating world events. The fact is that the effects of such storms can be fatal!
As individuals, you tend to plan for your family’s safety and protection in case of an emergency. Yet, many business owners forget to plan ahead. Then when a disaster strikes, you, the owner, is left feeling bereft from the loss of family, friends, possession, and in some instances, your home. In addition, you have added stress and concern regarding your business.
How can you, the business owner, support your business and your team after going through such a horrific situation?
Will your business survive the devastation? What will it take to get up and running again? Have you lost inventory, is the building damaged or beyond repair?
These are just a few concerns a business owner faces when there is seemingly nothing but turmoil.
Preparing your business for a natural disaster
These tips are a starting point for creating your disaster preparedness plan to keep your business afloat during (and after) a natural disaster and times of uncertainty.
1. Have a plan.
Before a disaster strikes, sit down with your team and develop a plan of action. You may want to include contingencies for different disasters, who will do what, how to communicate, and contact information not just for the team but for customers, insurance agents, and software/apps your business utilizes, including URLs and logins. If you own a brick-and-mortar location, it’s crucial to include evacuation procedures and check-in protocols to ensure everyone is safe.
2. Be prepared.
Make sure to share the action plan with your team members. While it is beneficial to keep everything electronic, it is still a good idea to have printed copies. What happens if you lose access to your computer and cannot access the internet, power, or cell phone? A hard copy of the plan shared with your team is a good idea so they can access it no matter the situation.
If you live in a disaster-prone region, consider having contingent team members or a distant point of contact that can step in and assist in the short term to operate your business.
And, of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the importance of backing up your software/data in the cloud or consider using online software/apps to protect your data and minimize downtime after a catastrophe.
3. Stay informed.
Keep tabs on local weather reports and alerts, so you can be as prepared as possible for whatever Mother Nature steers your way. If you get a blip on your radar, review the action plan for necessary updates and confirm that the key team members still have access to their printed copy.
Keeping the lines of communication open (as much as possible) during a natural disaster is key. Notify your team member ahead of time of the potential of enacting the action plan. And, as always, be sure to keep your clients and customers informed of your plans.
Make sure your company has insurance coverage in the event of a natural disaster. If your business is located within a region prone to natural disasters, you know it can be very costly, not to mention time-consuming, to find new equipment and replenish your inventory.
Natural disasters can have a devastating effect on businesses. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, companies face many challenges, including damaged infrastructure, power loss, and supply chain disruptions.
However, starting with these steps can help ensure your business and employees can remain afloat during and after a natural disaster.
How to start
Has preparation for an impending natural disaster been on your “to-do” list? Have you been on the lookout for the perfect time to do it? Click the button below to schedule a complimentary discovery call to determine if my twenty years of expertise in future-proofing businesses can assist you moving forward.