By Steve Rowley of Cox Business
These days it seems no region is safe from wicked weather – with wildfires raging in California and Montana, Harvey’s winds and rain devastating Houston, and Irma on track to be the most powerful hurricane to make landfall in Florida in decades. Yet, many small businesses haven’t made preparedness planning a priority.
In fact, a recent survey from Cox Business indicated nearly 60 percent of small business owners don’t have any type of emergency readiness plan in place. Of the 40 percent that do, roughly one-third ever review it.
Having an actionable plan in place to protect your staff, property and assets ahead of a severe weather event can help you safeguard your business and get back on your feet faster.
Put Team Communication First
Good communication is at the core of any well put together preparedness strategy. Your employees need to know what action to take in the event of a severe weather event to stay safe and keep your business secure.
Work with your team to map out who is responsible for what – like boarding up windows, moving outdoor stock inside, notifying customers via social media about temporary business closure or supply limitations. Whether it’s yourself or another member of your team, have a dedicated point of contact that’s responsible for communicating any updates with the rest of the team.
Facing a significant weather event, decisive communication is key. Monitor the news closely and decide on a definitive time to close shop – i.e. when the National Weather Service declares a hurricane watch – and encourage your employees to follow evacuation procedures.
Don’t Gamble on Interruption Coverage
According to a survey conducted earlier this year by insurance provider Nationwide, 71 percent of small business owners don’t have business interruption insurance, which may be why 25 percent of businesses never reopen following a major disaster.
Securing appropriate insurance coverage for your business can’t be a “nice to have” anymore. Investing in business interruption/disaster insurance can minimize the impact of losses and set your business up well for recovery.
Consider Cloud Backup and Connectivity
You can rebuild your physical space, but if you lose intellectual property, it’s gone.
Secure cloud storage and cloud back up should be a central part of your disaster preparedness plan. This can protect your business in the event of not just natural disasters, but also hacks and other types of emergencies. Having proprietary data, customer contacts, financial information etc. stored on the cloud will also allow you to operate your business from a temporary location if needed.
Connectivity also is important to take into consideration when putting together or revisiting your emergency preparedness plan. Partnering with an IT managed services provider or ISP to assist in pre-event planning and recovery can be a proactive way to avoid downtime.
Ultimately, these are simply a few of the mission critical areas to focus on when putting in place, or updating your emergency preparedness plan. The Department of Homeland Security and the Small Business Association offer intuitive and detailed templates you can follow also.
Steve Rowley serves as Executive Vice President of Cox Business, overseeing its strategic direction, including all marketing, operations, sales, product development and partnership initiatives. Before leading Cox Business he was vice president of sales and field operations for Cox Business’ western U.S. markets where he served as the chief liaison between corporate headquarters and the western markets with oversight on local strategic planning, sales performance, marketing, back office, customer installations and capital investment.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.