However extraordinarily unlikely it might seem right now, getting hit by the force of a natural disaster may destroy your business entirely if you are not sufficiently prepared.
It is far too easy to assume it will never happen to you, but this is simply not the case – many American businesses need to face the very real threat of natural disaster at some point in their lifespan.
Unfortunately, they can be extremely difficult to recover from, especially for smaller businesses that may lack the funding necessary to rebuild.
North America is particularly susceptible to natural disasters, the results of which can vary immensely, from small-scale flooding to the monstrous wildfires plaguing California.
Thankfully, there are measures you can adopt to help keep your business as safe as it possibly can be from natural disasters.
If you feel as though you could be doing more to look after your business in what is already a turbulent time in world history, it is worth checking out these points.
Make Yourself Aware of Your Natural Climate
Once you know which kind of natural disasters actually have the chance to occur in your local area, you can start to prepare for them sufficiently.
Say, for example, you lived in the storm-prone state of Florida, you would likely need to then familiarize yourself with the best specialized storm damage recovery services available.
Once you know what to expect, you can start crafting a more dependable contingency plan in the first place.
Admittedly, it can be difficult to account for every possible eventuality, but getting familiar with your local natural climate can help.
Develop an Evacuation Protocol
When it comes to developing your plan, you must put the immediate health and safety of you and your employees as the number one priority.
This means working out an evacuation protocol that you can refer to should you be placed in any present danger from the threat of a natural disaster.
To do this, you need to conduct a thorough assessment of your current premises. Some key questions to ask yourself might include Where are the easiest exit routes? How long have you got to work with, and how many employees do you need to account for?
You will only be able to make the most out of an evacuation plan if you make sure it is completely personalized.
This is just one of the reasons why conducting an assessment of your premises first is so integral to your game plan.
If you have a reliable evacuation plan in place, you can give your employees the guidance they need to know what they’re doing in the event of an emergency.
Coordinating your entire workforce through the middle of a natural disaster is no small feat by any means, particularly if you do not have people in place to help you.
Designating roles to your trusted employees is a must in making sure everyone knows what to do should the situation arise.
You may want to establish roles like a route guide or a fire marshal to help you in this area. As long as your staff knows the right actions to take at the right time, it would be best if you did not have to worry too much about micromanaging the situation.
Evacuation drills can be great practice for your workforce. It helps familiarize everyone with the protocol, and it enables you to get an understanding of the kind of time frame you happen to be working with.
You do not need to necessarily run these drills very often, but if you are worried about being underprepared for a certain event, you may need to specify the type of drill and run a selection of them.
Backup All Your Documents and Data
To avoid losing extremely valuable assets forever, you must back them up in a secondary location.
Cloud computing is ideal for this, as it can allow you to store vast amounts of data in an intangible location, free from the threat of physical harm.
Creating backups should be a top priority in general, as it can minimize damage should you suffer from a data breach.
Protecting your company from disaster is partly about damage limitation as much as it is initial prevention.
When prevention is impossible, putting your health first and creating copies of your digital assets is crucial.
By ditching the paper world for the online one, you can not only save yourself a huge amount of money in the physical cost of materials, but you can create a safer environment for your business interests.
According to Forbes, businesses in the US waste $8 billion on paper management each year, a huge figure that serves to highlight the individual benefit of opting for a more sustainable method.
Suppose your business is able to operate entirely online. In that case, you might be able to drastically reduce the rebuild time, and therefore the downtime, of your company following the events of a natural disaster.
A big problem many businesses have in the aftermath of a disaster is a total lack of cash flow. This is perhaps a contributing factor to why 40% of small businesses never open again once they close due to a disaster.
By moving processes online, or at least ensuring they can be easily moved online, might be able to help you keep up the cash flow, allowing you to continue to support your employees through a tough time.
Understand Your Options
There are certain forms of federal and local support available for businesses that suffer from a disaster, so it is worth checking out all of your available options.
The SBA (Small Business Association) might be able to offer you a disaster relief loan, a common loan that many took during the pandemic.
Your local government may already have a scheme in place to support businesses suffering from a disaster, so do not hesitate to check their website online and see if they have any resources or forms of guidance for you.
Preparation is key – your business and your peace of mind may depend on it, so try not to leave it until it’s too late.