From devastating wildfires to horrific hurricanes, natural disasters are sparing no one. It can destroy countless homes, businesses, livelihoods, and even lives. These catastrophic events can take a huge toll on people, particularly business owners, who spend tons of money growing their businesses.
Entrepreneurs whose businesses are located in disaster-prone areas invest in equipment and systems to help them weather the worse types of disasters. Some go to great lengths by working with a stormwater management service provider to assess potential risks in their area.
If your business is situated in a disaster-prone area, it’s important to be aware of critical measures you can take in the event of a natural disaster. With that in mind, here are ways to rebuild your business after a disaster has passed.
Communicate With Everyone Involved
The first step in rebuilding a business after a natural disaster is communicating what happened. You have to share and explain how the natural disaster affected your business to all the people involved in your operations, particularly customers, employees, and stakeholders.
We understand how it’s challenging to prioritize and take an initial action when a natural disaster hits your business. When thinking about your plan and getting things organized, it’s essential to be quick and transparent when communicating with new and existing customers. The last thing you want is to make customers wait for nothing when they visit your store or website. They have the right to know what happened to your business. They will be more considerate once they know the natural disaster affected your operations.
If you’re managing a website or social media page, make sure to leave an announcement, including details on how long your business will remain closed. Customers’ support, empathy, and patience will get stronger when they find their favorite business is not going well. Other ways of communication include physical signage, text messaging, and email.
Also, don’t forget to check in on your employees and ask them if their family members were affected by the natural disaster. In the event of injuries or loss of property, make sure they get the assistance they need. Employers have a responsibility to look after their workers. Employee aid may come in the form of emergency leaves, employee benefits, or financial support.
Contact the Insurance Company
After checking in with your employees, examine the damage. Contact the insurance company to submit an insurance claim. The sooner you do this, the sooner they will respond, and the closer you will be to claiming your compensation.
Before you do this, make sure to inform the company before cleaning up the damage to get an exact estimate. After a disaster, most insurers deploy a quick-response team to survey the damage. If the business cleanup involves the removal of items, such as flooring, insulation, and water-damaged merchandise, keep them all. Damage materials serve as evidence of the impact of the natural disaster on your business.
A great tip is to conduct building inspections occasionally to ensure you have enough coverage for different types of disasters. Vandalism and office break-ins may also occur after a natural disaster. If you lose computer equipment or essential documents containing customers’ personal information, you are legally required to inform customers. For extra measure, encrypt private data, digitize physical documents, and store data in a reliable cloud-based management system.
Ask for Assistance
The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers financial assistance to hard-hit businesses in the event of a natural disaster. Regardless of size, any business located in a declared disaster area can apply for long-term, low-rate loans to recover from physical damages. You can also apply for a working capital loan to recover from the economic injury.
Qualified businesses can receive up to $2 million loans for over 30 years to replace and repair inventory, machinery, and property. For under insured losses or uninsured businesses, the loan can increase by 20% of the overall cost of disaster damages to protect your livelihood against incoming disasters. You can also visit SBA’s website to look for different types of disaster assistance.
If you’re counting on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for help, keep in mind that federal aid can be slow to respond, especially if too many people are filing claims. Your best chance of getting financial assistance is through an SBA loan or private insurance for business owners.
Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, and fires, can happen at any time. As much as we want to avoid them, these catastrophic events are out of control. To minimize the damage, you must be prepared and plan so that you can efficiently address and restore your business. In the end, you and your employees’ safety should be your top priority.