6 Ways Businesses Can Protect Themselves From Crazy Natural Disasters


Photo: kahala via Flickr

This article originally appeared in OpenForum.Perhaps the last thing most small business owners think about is planning for a potential natural disaster. Who has the time to prepare for something that may never happen?

But that attitude can come back to haunt you. A flood, drought, hurricane, fire—one of those calamities can put you out of business for weeks—or forever.

“Of the small businesses that are forced to close due to a disaster, at least one in four never reopens,” says Diana McClure, business resiliency manager for the Institute for Business & Home Safety. The upshot: You need a plan for what to do if disaster strikes so you can get back to business as quickly as possible.

Where to start? Consider the following points when forming your plan:

1. Assess your vulnerable areas.

2. Think of ways to address those risks.

3. Make sure your data is protected.

4. Think about how to communicate with employees, vendors and customers.

5. Address potential problems if suppliers are affected.

In a major disaster, your vendors might also feel the pain. For critical supplies, it's best to identify alternative providers to make sure you're covered. That's especially important if you only have one supplier.

When making your choice, look for a company located in a different area, so it's less likely to be affected by the same problem. And don't wait for a disaster to start using the supplier. Get your contract worked out so you won't have to scramble should something happen.

6. Think about personnel policies.

Here's how to pick yourself up from failure:

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