You can manage your business as smartly as you want, but you can’t control natural disasters. With tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, landslides, fires, and blizzards able to wreck everything you’ve built in a matter of minutes, no area of the country is truly safe from the natural elements. Hurricanes are some of the worst offenders for coastal businesses, and the upcoming hurricane Florence is proving to be no different. The best thing you can do for your business is be prepared.
BEFORE THE HURRICANE
Much of the disaster prep can be done while waiting to see if and how hard the storm strikes.
- Get insurance – Renter’s insurance, property insurance, flood insurance. It is important to note that wind damage is not covered in flood insurance, and how your claim is handled will depend on what caused the damage: wind or storm surge.
- Create drainage – If you notice your property is prone to flooding during average rains, take precautions when expecting a large storm.
- Have a plan for shut down and evacuation – Review emergency weather procedures with employees before the storm. What gets shut down and unplugged, what time are you closing operations, are there any employees at remote work sites that need to return early?
- Employee compensation – If your business is affected by the disaster, your employees homes likely were too. Are you able to pay them until operations resume? Or will work pause until operations are up and running again?
- Alert vendors – Dealing with vendors across the country means dealing with businesses not affected by the hurricane or tornado. If you have the time, let other businesses you work with know that contact with you may be down for several days, possibly weeks.
After the Storm
When disaster strikes, you aren’t alone. Whether your insurance denied your claim or you never had any to begin with, there are several alternatives to getting your feet back on the ground.
- SBA disaster loan – Many different disasters qualify for assistance, you just have to ask for help. The SBA offers two types of assistance: business physical or economic injury disaster loans. Business Physical Disaster Loans replace damaged property and cover property improvements to prevent further disaster, such as building drainage for flooding. Economic Injury Disaster Loans help a company through typical financial obligations even when no property damage occurred.
- Apply for alternative lending – If your business was in good health before the disaster, you may be able to get funding immediately without having to wait for the long process of getting a bank loan. You can apply for funding for free by clicking here.
- Contact Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster updates and resources Disasterlegalaid.org
- The U.S Chamber of Commerce for businesses seeking help hotline is 888-MY-BIZ-HELP
- Call the Disaster hotline at 866-710-6576
For yourself and your employees, contact your local Red Cross branch for shelter, food and additional aid.
Category: Management Advice