A natural disaster can occur at any time, particularly in the winter where floods, blizzards, high winds, and storms become part and parcel of everyday life. The impact can be irreversibly harmful to small businesses affected by a natural disaster. Small business owners must take immediate action after a natural disaster to protect workers, ensure stability and fix properties or business infrastructure.
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, small businesses should take action to help mitigate the effects and damage. After a natural disaster hits your business, these are just some of the things that you should be doing.
Put your disaster plan into place
Every business should have a disaster plan ready to implement should the worst happen, but if you operate in an area where natural disasters happen regularly, it is essential. As soon as the immediate danger has passed and you and your employees and anyone else on site are safe, it is time to act on those plans.
By implementing them, you will know that the policies and procedures that you drew up when things were calm will be acted upon accordingly and mitigate the risk to your business as far as possible.
Can you move to a backup location?
This should be specified in your disaster plan, but, assuming that your usual location or place of business is damaged, is there an alternative site that you can all move to that is safe and gives you a base to work from where you can figure out your next steps?
Provide assistance and support to employees
It can be easy to forget the toll it can take on someone’s mental health if they have been involved in a disaster. As a responsible and caring employer, you should be thinking about the ways that you can support your workforce and give them the assistance that they need while you get back on track. For some, this may be organizing counseling or someone to talk to, for others, it may be offering them some financial support.
Document the damage
As long as it is safe to do so, take photos, or even a video of the damage to your premises as soon as you can. Visual evidence such as this can be crucial when claiming on your business insurance.
File a claim with your insurer
The quicker that you do this, the better. You need to get in touch with your insurance company as soon as possible, and a Public insurance adjuster, if necessary. You need to be able to deal with this interruption to your business as quickly as possible so that you can get back up and running without losing too much money.
The sooner insurance claims are made, the quicker the business will receive a payout, which can be critical in helping it recover some of the financial costs the disaster may have caused.
Talk to any creditors
If you have any loans or any credit with any financial institutions, you might want to get in touch with them and let them know that you are in a difficult situation. They might give you a payment break while you concentrate on sorting everything out and getting back on your feet.
Fall back on your reserves
All businesses should have a reserve fund and a financial plan to fall back on for emergencies, and this is an emergency situation! Use this fund to pay your employees and to start getting repairs underway while you are waiting for your insurance money to be paid out.
Consider other ways of working
One positive thing that may come out of a situation such as this is that it may encourage you to think about different ways of working or running your business. Perhaps you can look at flexible or remote working. Having a cloud-based system and remote-working technology set up can mean the business could operate even if the premises are not ready.
Take time to recuperate and recover
Earlier on we said about making sure that you give your employees the support and assistance that they might need, but you also need to make sure that this sentiment extends to you as well.
Of course, you want to be getting back to business as soon as possible, but remember that you are only human and will also need time to recuperate and recover from the disaster. Going back to work too early or putting yourself under too much strain will lead to more problems in the long term and affect your productivity.