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This year, natural disasters will affect about 160 million people worldwide. No doubt the welfare of your family and your home would be of major concern if a natural disaster were to occur in your area. But have you ever considered how your business could be impacted?

Every business owner should implement the following step-by-step plan in the event of a natural disaster:

  1. Check on your staff

“Tough times don’t last, tough teams do” (Robert Schuller).

Your team is the most important asset to your business, so check up on them. Think about any relief you can provide, such as by offering flexible office hours or even time off. Depending on the severity of the disaster, some of your employees may be in a position to help you get your business back on track. So if after considering their situation you find that they may be able to assist you, don’t be afraid to ask for their help with completing the following steps.

HOW TO PREPARE NOW: Make sure you keep a list of emergency contact information on file for each of your employees before disaster strikes and save a hard copy somewhere that you can access even if the power or internet is out.

  1. Contact your insurance company

This next step is crucial! It is imperative that you complete this step before cleaning up your place of business because your insurer may advise you to contact an assessor to inspect the damage. Your insurer will also provide you with the most accurate details of what is required from you in order to get your business up and running again.

HOW TO PREPARE NOW: Create a thorough record of your business’s assets to ensure that if any are damaged, your insurance can replace them fully. Of course, this may vary slightly depending on the type of insurance you own.

  1. Document

Walk through your place of business and document the damage with your phone or camera. Additionally, make a list of items that survived as well as items that didn’t. These items could include supplies, inventory, equipment, and the like. If your insurer allows, you may have to move items that are in good condition to a safer environment to prevent further damage.

  1. Contact government agencies

The U.S. government provides dozens of relief agencies that cater to the specific needs of disaster relief victims. Depending on your industry, you can contact appropriate business-related agencies, which you can find here.

  1. Gather your business records

You will likely need at least some of these records to collect assistance and to get your business operating as soon as possible. If you can’t find important numbers or documents, contact us to direct you.

Remember, this 5-step plan is not an absolute solution to every issue you will experience in the aftermath of a disaster. Although problems will arise that are beyond your control, don’t forget that they are just that, beyond your control. There will likely be thousands of other individuals like you who are struggling to revive their business after the disaster. However, if you focus on these 5 steps, as well as other aspects of your business that are within your control, your business will survive!