Most Business Owners Unprepared for Natural Disasters

Here’s an interesting article from Inc.com on disaster preparedness.  I know, none of us ever thinks we’re going to be hit by a disaster, natural or otherwise.  But, it could happen and it could be devastating to your business.

84% of small business owners surveyed aren’t worried about a disaster affecting their operation in the next 12 months, which isn’t surprising.  But, there is a difference between being "worried" and being prepared.  The article suggests three steps that you should take:

  • Keep copies of crucial documents in a safe, off-site location. many Gulf Coast business owners kept copies of financial records at home, only to find them destroyed or inaccessible. Signing up for online banking can provide a way to access financial records remotely.
  • Maintain contact information for critical parties. This includes employees, suppliers, and customers.
  • Empower staff to keep the business running. Key employees must be able to move the business forward in your absence. This means designating signatories for emergency loans and expenses, and establishing computer systems that allow remote access.

Another tip for your business and your family is to select a trusted friend or family member in another city to act as a contact point in the event of a breakdown in local communications.  Many victims of Hurricane Katrina weren’t able to contact family and business associates because local phone service was disrupted.  An out-of-town contact could relay information and help those who are separated find one another.

The Small Business Administration web site offers a Disaster Planning Toolkit.

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