Hurricanes and tropical storms can wreck havoc upon homeowners and businesses alike. It can be especially devastating to small business owners and corporations from a financial perspective, who not only face the possibility of property damage, but a complete halt in business for days – or even weeks – at a time. To help commercial business owners survive this perilous situation, we are offering some hurricane preparedness tips for business owners in today’s article.
Hurricane Preparation for Commercial Businesses
In business, preparation is a vital component to survival. This is true for every aspect of your operation and while business owners prepare for all manner of financial upheavals, one area they tend to neglect is property damage – in particular property damage related to severe weather such as a hurricane, tropical storm, or tornado.
While you can’t control where a tropical storm or hurricane touches down, you can develop some disaster recovery plans that can help mitigate property damage and downtime due to the severe weather associated with this tropical activity. For starters, we recommend gathering your most valued employees and coming up with a disaster recovery strategy. Figure out crucial tasks to undertake before a hurricane strikes, and determine who will be responsible for them.
Typical disaster preparation strategies include backing up critical data and sensitive client information. Make sure you keep a back-up of your information off-site or on an outsourced server in the event your building receives critical damage.
Just like you would prepare your home for a hurricane, you should also take the same precautions, where possible, to secure your business to protect it from wind and water damage. Putting up storm shutters or boarding up windows is a good start. You should also secure or store any outdoor items on your property that may become a safety hazard when gale force winds descend.
As we noted above, property damage is only part of the concern when it comes to a hurricane. Loss of electricity and structural damage can cause downtime for your business. This downtime can last anywhere from a few hours to weeks – or longer. Having a secondary location where you can set up a temporary business can help you continue operations. If possible, you may want to consider setting up a system whereby employees can work remotely. This could be a cheaper alternative to opening a second office. Just make sure your critical information and network access is secure and only available to appropriate team members.
Along the same token, you want to keep the lines of communication open with your employees, vendors, and clients. Prepare your customers for any alternate contact information or locations, and if you suspect a slow-down in service, be forthcoming and let your clients know what to expect.
Finally, at the start of hurricane season, meet with your insurance agent and review your property and business insurance to make sure you are fully covered for any realistic scenarios. If you do experience property damage, content damage, or need the assistance of a disaster recovery service, insurance will help mitigate your losses and be an invaluable resource to get your business back up and running.