Running a business is filled with daily challenges – from personnel to profit – and most business owners realize the need to protect themselves from both internal and external risks. But there is another type of hazard that is overlooked and often uninsured: Natural Disasters.
Storms such as Cyclone Pam that battered the NSW coast this week can often catch a small business off-guard, and can have significant financial implications. In fact, an estimated 25 per cent of companies are unable to resume business operations after a major disaster, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.
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There’s often a human tendency to be naïve in these particular situations, holding the belief that a large-scale natural disaster won’t happen where you live and where your business is located. However, the reality of the situation is storms, floods, fires, earthquakes, tornados cyclones and hurricanes can strike anywhere and at anytime. CEOs must plan ahead for their own post-disaster recovery, which often determines how successful they are in the future.
Here are four ways small businesses should prepare for a natural disaster.
1.Make sure you have the appropriate insurance coverage
You should know the type of coverage you have on your facilities and property, and if it is enough to ensure your recovery if a disaster indeed does physically destroy your business. In addition, small business owners should also consider business interruption insurance in case you have to shut down for a substantial amount of time.
2.Back up all electronic data
Like most everything else in today’s age, nearly all business transactions are conducted and stored electronically. Because of this, it is crucial that data and files are backed up and saved, as a company may to be able to reestablish itself without important client and financial databases. It’s recommended you save all of your files at least twice a year, store one in a waterproof container at the office and another in an off-site facility.
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3.Create a disaster strategy
Plan an efficient way to communicate with employees and clients while business operations are down, and make sure everyone understands their communication responsibilities. For example, figure out who will be in charge of contacting the insurance company, who will contact clients to update them and who will be the spokesperson in case information needs to be relayed immediately.
4.Consider temporary relocation
Think about another location to get work done in case a disaster strikes and you can’t get into your office.