It's Time to Update or Implement a Disaster Plan for Your Small Business
The Atlantic hurricane season began Saturday, June 1. Based on the effects of hurricanes the last two seasons, it’s important that small business owners make sure they have up-to-date disaster plans in place.
Things to consider
If disaster strikes, how would you contact your employees, customers, and vendors? How would your employees reach you? Does your business have the necessary insurance to cover damage from a natural disaster? How would you keep up with your business records and how long would it take to reopen if you were forced to close? What if you were not able to resume normal operations?
With these questions in mind, consider the following tips from the National Federation of Independent Business about preparing for a hurricane or other disaster:
- Understand the risks. Your small business may be vulnerable to many types of disasters such as flooding and wildfires. Make sure you are aware and protected as much as possible against the possible risks.
- Be sure you have adequate insurance. You need at least enough insurance coverage to rebuild your home and business. Review your policies to see what is and isn’t covered. Consider business interruption insurance, which helps cover operating costs during the post-disaster shutdown period. Get flood insurance.
- Take photographs and videos of your assets. Store online or in waterproof and fireproof containers kept in a safe place, such as a relative or friend’s home or business in another state.
- Have an emergency response plan. Determine your evacuation routes. Establish meeting places. Keep emergency phone numbers handy.
- Develop a communications plan. Designate someone to serve as a contact for your employees, customers, and vendors. Phone and internet services may be down in your area following a natural disaster, so ask an out-of-state friend or relative to serve as a post-disaster point of contact.
- Backup your business records. Make copies of your vital records and store in a safe, dry place. . Use online backups for electronic data and keep paper documents in a fireproof safety deposit box.
- Create a disaster kit. Store a flashlight, portable radio, extra batteries, phone charger, first aid supplies, non-perishable food, bottled water, basic tool kit, plastic sheeting and garbage bags in a bag or box in a convenient location, in case of emergency. Encourage your employees to prepare disaster kits for themselves and their families.
Being ready for an emergency or natural disaster can increase the chances that your business will be able to make it through to the other side and continue operating at full capacity. What other precautions are you taking to prepare your business for the unexpected?