Preparing Your Business In the Case Of A Natural Disaster Discussing a topic about natural disasters is never a pleasant subject, however it is a necessary one especially when it comes to protecting your business. Being organized in your business is vital to the success of it, as well as being prepared in the face of a natural disaster. Have you prepared your business for this type of interruption? Does your business have business interruption insurance, and have you checked your policy to know what is covered in the case of a natural disaster? Physical Products Do you ship from your home or a third party service? If you ship from home, do you have a plan in place in the case of a sudden business interruption? You certainly don’t want to lose customers because of this situation. Decide on a communication strategy You should have in your terms of service policy a natural disaster clause, that lets the customer know that in the event of a natural disaster, you may not be able to reach out to them immediately, but you will respond to them as soon as possible, and list the terms of service you will provide in the case of a disaster once you are able to regain communication 1. Keep a copy of your customers emails/phone numbers that you can easily access from online storage 2. Keep the number of your insurance representative handy. 3. Research for more than one supplier in the case your main supplier has a business interruption in their area, or find out if their policy & terms of service covers your customers orders in the case they have a natural disaster. Stay Current With Weather Emergency Warnings Follow the news in your area as well as your suppliers area, to stay informed in the instance you need to change the protocol and inform customers of impending weather conditions, that may delay their order. If you ship from your home you may need to alert customers and prepare for the worst case scenario, you may have to refund their money. In the case your inventory gets damaged you may have to outsource pending orders to a 3rd party supplier to get the job done at the promised date, in the case you don’t have business insurance. Backups Keep backup copies of important information. Preparation is key especially for small & startup business, such a disaster could break the business, before it has a change to get off the ground. Keep copies of files at offsite storage locations, check their policy for any damages that may occur during the storage period, and what is the reimbursement amount and the time it may take to get the reimbursement. I remember Super Storm Sandy, some of my neighbors were out of power for over a week, the gas lines were long, you could only purchase gas depending if your license plate was an even or odd number. This could hurt a business that’s just beginning to gain customers & a social media presence. I am sure you remember the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, so you must not ignore this as a business owner, you must protect and put in place the protocols to ensure that your business will stay afloat when weather conditions are unfavorable. Planning Planning is key when starting your business, and business insurance should be apart of your business expense, having it can be a life saver. Knowing your numbers when venturing out into entrepreneurship, will save you time and money when you have prepared for unseen conditions that can arise in your business. Michele Riley
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