How to Prepare Your Small Business for Natural Disasters
So, you’ve accomplished the insurmountable challenge of launching your business. You’ve even developed a concrete marketing strategy to attract new customers. Also, you’ve assembled a team of talented and driven professionals who believe in your vision. You can’t wait to climb up the entrepreneurial ladders.
But being a small business owner is a tumultuous journey that’s strewn with numerous highs and lows. From optimizing your product/support to delivering an excellent customer experience – you’re responsible for everything. You need to wear multiple hats and work towards keeping your team motivated.
The Impact of Natural Disasters
Preparing an emergency response plan for natural disasters often takes a backseat amidst other priorities. But in the absence of proper contingency measures, you’d have to stall your business operations when a disaster strikes. Worse still, an extreme weather event could jeopardize the safety of your employees and customers.
You could end up losing valuable data and paperwork as well. Moreover, restoring your workplace and equipment after a severe storm could have significant financial repercussions. Ultimately, all these factors work together to plunge your revenue and take a toll on your business’s growth.
This is particularly crucial considering that climate change is escalating the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, such as tornadoes, cyclones, and floods. Considering that small businesses are often hard-pressed for cash, you can’t afford more financial losses in the event of a natural calamity.
As a business owner, it’s up to you to implement suitable preventive measures at the right time to minimize the impact of such events on your business. This involves taking the right steps to maintain business continuity while ensuring the safety of all key stakeholders.
In this blog, we’ve outlined a few effective strategies and tips to help you ensure business resilience and employee safety during natural calamities. Let’s take a look.
Prioritize Power Backup
Power outages are one of the earliest and most common outcomes of any weather catastrophe. Needless to say, it’s the last thing you want to deal with when a hurricane is about to make landfall near your workplace.
Any interruption to the power supply can prevent your employees from evacuating the office premises on time. Also, it’ll stall business operations and prevent you from accessing crucial business documents, irrespective of where they’re stored.
It is, therefore, a good idea to invest in a sturdy and energy-efficient generator if you haven’t done that already. It can go a long way to ensure continuity of business operations during a calamity.
Shop for diesel generators that are suitable for the size and energy consumption of your business. Also, take proper steps to maintain the generator and ensure that it consumes the optimal amount of fuel.
Start Preparing Early
First things first – you can’t wait for an overcast sky to turn into a full-fledged storm before you start outlining your emergency response plan. Instead, you need to perform a thorough annual risk assessment and identify the potential threats to your business.
Depending on your location and niche, your business could be susceptible to a wide array of calamities, such as hurricanes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, etc. Explore the area’s history of extreme weather events and other catastrophes for a better idea of what you’re up against.
Next, identify the most crucial business assets that need protection. This could include your equipment, workstations, servers, documents, inventory, and the physical office premises. Additionally, you should prioritize the safety of your employees and staff members. They’re the most valuable assets for your company.
The next step is to develop an actionable emergency response plan and share it with your employees. You could consider working with an experienced disaster management specialist for this purpose. The plan should include an escape strategy, as well as the steps to protect your crucial assets.
Secure Your Finances
Despite the best plans and strategies, your business will end up bearing the brunt of a calamity. This could be in the form of physical damage to your office building, infrastructure, and perishable inventory.
Also, you might have to purchase additional gadgets, equipment, and software applications to let employees work remotely. Even if they’re coming to the office, you’d have to provide them with additional facilities, such as food, safety gear, etc.
If you want to deal with all these expenses without affecting your revenue, you must allocate a substantial annual contingency budget. Also, check with your insurance provider and find out what benefits are covered under your current insurance plan.
If there’s been a recent forecast of inclement weather, you could consider upgrading your insurance plan for better coverage. This is also a good time to find out whether your state or local government has announced any disaster relief programs and funds for small businesses.
What steps are you taking to safeguard your business against natural disasters? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.