Saturday 19 April 2014

*We are not the National Hurricane Center

Preparing Your Business for a Hurricane

prepare your business 300x199 Preparing Your Business for a Hurricane

If you are the owner of a business, prepare for a hurricane well beforehand. Gather your equipment and inventory and move them to a more protected location. Lock up your office and have copies of vital office records stored in a safe location outside your office’s premises. Evaluate your insurance coverage and prepare for future documentation by taking stock of your equipment and other important belongings. Take pictures of these items and gather serial numbers, policy numbers and contact numbers.

Be prepared to work with minimal means. Have a contingency plan where you can work with minimal cash and no access to power and water for two weeks. If you can afford it, purchase a back up generator and have emergency kits and supplies in the office. Prepare a temporary office in another location in case your office is completely destroyed by the hurricane. Make sure that this provisional office is not very far from your original office. It should also be accessible by phone and must have computer and internet access.

Organization is the key to keeping your business afloat during times like this. Make sure you have prepared well by having a file of phone numbers of key personnel and clients. Also, collect your personnel’s computer passwords and other important codes so you can access any file if the need arises. Do not forget to have a plan of how to contact your employees if the hurricane has the potential to be life-threatening. Have their numbers at hand and alert them immediately not to go to the office if this situation arises. If you have the luxury of being informed by news and weather agencies about the hurricane in advance, also talk to your clients and suppliers and inform them of how you intend to carry on with the business. If some suppliers cannot promise you that they will be accessible, also have a number of alternative suppliers which you can contact. Always take note of each expenditure file including sales invoices and tax returns.

When your business is badly affected by a hurricane, search for available loan plans which you can avail. There are agencies designed to help businesses recover crises like this by offering unemployment compensation and counseling. Because of the severity of hurricane disasters, loans are hastily processed so business owners can get back on their feet as soon as possible. A good example of a loan which a business owner can explore and avail is the disaster loan offered by the US Small Business Administration. Business owners can get loans to repair their offices and restore inventory after going through a calamity. Federal loans offer as high as $1.5 million for as low as four percent interest in terms of up to thirty years. To find out more about federal loans, contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

It will take time for you, for your business and for your employees to recover. Make sure you have informed your employees on your stand regarding the handling of disasters like hurricanes. Make sure you are always in touch with your employees and keep them posted regarding when they should be able to go back to work and where. Be compassionate and do not pressure them to go back before they have their families and homes secured. The hurricane will be expensive and business owners must always have spare cash to not only rebuild the business, but also take care of your employees’ basic needs so the employers can be of help in whichever way they can be. This will build a strong relationship and will give your employees more motivation to work for you.

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