You might not think about it from day to day, as life can lull you into a false state of security, but natural disasters can happen at any time, in a variety of ways. Being caught without a plan to keep your business afloat can put its survival in doubt, making it vital to take the steps necessary to protect your assets before the unexpected happens. Having a plan will help restore it to full health despite any circumstances that might beset you in the wake of a disruptive event.
Which types of disasters are most likely to occur in your region?
Your first task is to assess what natural threats pose the biggest risk to your assets. What plans can you draft, or infrastructure can you purchase that will counteract these threats? For example, if you live in an area that is prone to severe storms, having a generator on site at your retail food store may be a worthwhile investment, as it will keep frozen perishables viable while you wait several days for your power to be restored.
Review your insurance cover
Are you adequately protected for the partial or complete destruction of your assets? Are there clauses in your current policy that exclude or limit coverage for disasters that have a realistic chance of happening in your area? Review it line by line (with your attorney if possible) to make sure you are covered for everything you need to be protected against. It is always a good idea to get periodic business valuations to ensure you know what your business and assets are actually worth, and especially for insurance purposes.
Mirror copies of important documents, and back up vital data to the cloud
Go through your files and identify every document that would damage your business if it were to be lost in a fire, and photocopy it multiple times. Take these copies and store them in various secure places (e.g. safety deposit boxes, a safe in your home, etc). Additionally, you will want to scan them and upload their digitized forms to a secure cloud storage site along with all the vital electronic files that are present on your company servers.
What will your employees do in the aftermath of a disaster?
Disasters may create communication challenges that will make contacting employees difficult in the wake of a natural disturbance. With telecommunications likely to be unreliable or offline, it is important that people in various positions know what their responsibilities are after an event before it happens. This way, there will be less confusion among your rank and file with regards to their duties when the unexpected occurs.
What government relief programs are you eligible for in the wake of a declared disaster?
Sometimes, the forces of nature wreak destruction on a scale that may require you to reach out for government assistance. Do you know the protocol that you will you have to go through to receive the capital you need to get your business back on its feet? If you don’t, researching federal and state programs that are set up to help individuals and businesses get level after a disaster will prove to be a worthwhile investment of your time on a quiet afternoon.