Have you been watching the news and seeing the images of erupting volcanoes, flash floods and tornadoes? It’s wild! Here in Florida, we’ve been super soaked for weeks. Now, I can’t believe there’s already a named storm (Alberto) in the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s not even hurricane season yet.
The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season officially begins June 1st and runs through November 30th. Weather experts say this will be an above normal season with 10 to 16 named storms, five predicted to be major hurricanes. If that’s true, this year’s losses could be worse than last year, the costliest in US history at an estimated $200 billion plus in damages.
What does that mean to you and me? As a small business owner, now is the time to not only prepare your family, but prepare your business for any potential damage or losses that come about as a result of a storm or natural disaster. Here are some of the most important matters business owners should deal with now, before a storm hits:
PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY
– Do you own or rent the property where your business is located? Either way, now is the time to make sure the building your business is housed in meets local and state hurricane codes. Would you know what to do or who to call if your utilities, like electricity, water and telecommunications, are disrupted? If you don’t, then now is the time to plan and get your contact names and phone numbers in order.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE INSURANCE
– Once a storm approaches your area, you may not be able to activate or buy extra business insurance, such as flood and wind. So before a storm or disaster strikes, talk to your insurance agent to make sure you have the right amount of insurance for not only your building, but also its contents. Make sure you keep a copy of all of your insurance policies, building plans, bank account information and other important business documents with you in another location in a waterproof container. You may also want to reach out to your bookkeeper and see if he or she does the same thing for your financial business documents. Here at Brigade Bookkeeping, we have all of our client information in a safe place, in case a storm or disaster strikes.
HAVE A COMMUNICATIONS PLAN
– If a storm is scheduled to head your way, do you have a plan to communicate with your employees? Now is the time to create a communications plan to keep in contact with your employees before, during and after a storm. Make sure that includes giving your employees time to prepare their homes before the storm. Finally, plan for a way to keep in touch with your customers and suppliers when the storm is over.
HAVE A BACKUP OPERATIONS PLAN
– If a storm damages your business, what would you do? Now’s the time to have a backup operations plan in place. Can key employees log in from home if there’s damage to your building? Do you have employees or freelance help in another state who can take over if your area is hit with a storm or experiences an emergency? Having answers to these questions now can save you a headache, before, during and after the next natural disaster.
Its been raining non-stop here in Florida for weeks, so we’re already experiencing a waterlog. But for everyone’s sake, I hope Alberto doesn’t gain strength and dissipates in the Gulf of Mexico. We’ll wait and see, but for now, create or go over your disaster plan, and make sure you’re safe this hurricane season.
One last note, to all the veterans out there and families who lost loved ones fighting for our country, thank you for your service.