A natural disaster can occur at a moment’s notice. Within seconds, your business can be damaged or destroyed, forcing you to close your doors until you can get back up and running. Unfortunately, businesses that haven’t implemented a disaster recovery plan before the unthinkable happens may likely be unable to reopen their doors after a loss. In fact, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), up to 40 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors after a natural disaster strikes. With the lack of planning for financial damages, property destruction, loss of essential business documents and equipment, and taking care of staff needs, it can be difficult for business owners to rebuild when disaster strikes.
Luckily, the experts at ServiceMaster RestoreÒ are here to help. Use these tips to get your business back on its feet as soon as you can after disaster strikes.
CREATE A DETAILED NATURAL DISASTER PLAN
If your business is going to survive a natural disaster, you’ll need a detailed preparedness plan in place. Write down a list of immediate solutions you’ll implement in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Include items such as:
- Which disasters are likely to impact your business, depending on where it is located
- Locations suitable for employee evacuation
- How to stay in contact with all staff members
- Emergency contact information for each employee
- Plans to protect and/or access vital business records and information
- If there will be an off-site location from which employees need to work until doors reopen
- Contact information for the business’s insurance company, financial institutions, and a reputable disaster restoration company
If you need help creating your plan, print out FEMA’s business continuity and disaster preparedness plan, fill in your company’s information, and ensure key employees are aware of its details.
KEEP LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN
As soon as you can, keep your customers and staff informed about what’s happening with your business. Provide an estimate of when you’ll be able to reopen for business. If excessive damage forces you to temporarily relocate, let others know how to find you. Keep in mind that your ability to recover from a natural disaster might largely depend on how quickly your employees are able to return to work. Reach out to your team, and work with them to make scheduling changes if necessary so everyone can get back to normal as soon as possible.
SEEK OUTSIDE HELP
While FEMA provides financial assistance to businesses that are located in a federally declared disaster area, the process of receiving aid can take some time, especially when an astronomical number of claims are being filed. Have a backup plan in place to ensure you’re able to cover the costs of repairs in a punctual manner.
Consider purchasing a flood insurance plan that specifically covers natural disasters. The Small Business Administration (SBA) may also be a good place to turn for help. Through the organization’s Office of Disaster Assistance, businesses that are located in declared disaster areas can apply for low-interest, long-term loans to make repairs and replacements.
SET YOUR BUSINESS UP FOR A QUICK RECOVERY
Even just one act of nature can cause a major interruption. Businesses that recognize the importance of having a detailed plan in place to recover after a natural disaster may have a greater chance of survival. Start listing out your steps to rebuilding before disaster strikes to increase your chances of recovering.
If the unexpected does happen, remember that you’re not alone. Count on the experts at ServiceMaster Restore to guide and support you throughout the recovery process and help get your business back up and running again as quickly as possible.