October 31, 2012
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“As Superstorm Sandy marched slowly inland, millions along the East Coast awoke Tuesday without power or mass transit, with huge swaths of the nation’s largest city unusually vacant and dark,” according to CBS News reports. Small business owners across the nation are coping with (and will soon face) the fallout from business losses associated with the inclement weather that made the record books this year.
Monster storms packing high winds and treacherous weather can leave millions of people and businesses in strenuous situations dealing with the aftermath. Superstorms can impact small business operations locally and across the nation, from supply chain operations to basic administrative tasks.
The truth is many small businesses are not prepared for an “Act of God” – legal terminology used to describe events outside of our control, such as floods or natural disasters, for which no one can be held responsible.
Here are several precautionary and post-storm steps small business owners can take to manage the fallout from a super storm and cope with major business losses.
6 Ways Small Businesses Can Cope with Severe Weather
1. Execute an emergency plan.
If your small business has an emergency plan, implement it immediately. Having an inclement weather policy that includes clear directions on what your team should do if your business is impacted locally by an ‘Act of God’ is essential to managing downtime. Ensure to cover basics including who to contact, preferred communication and where your team can go to get updates on company closings and flexible work options if available.
2. Check on the status of your company website.
“When the former Hurricane Sandy — now technically a cyclone — hit the New York area, it cut power to hundreds of thousands of people, including some major Internet providers,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
If you’re an online business owner, every hour lost could equate to hundreds or thousands of dollars in monetary losses due to server downtime. Taking steps to review potential losses and reviewing options to move your site to a new server to minimize downtime are critical steps to getting operations back in full swing.
3. Communicate with employees, customers and suppliers.
At the first warning of severe storms, make contact with your internal stakeholders when possible. Communicate with employees, suppliers and customers to share the status of your business operations. If you are unable to reach partners via landline or cellular phone, instant messenger (IM) clients may be helpful if Internet access is available. Distribute your IM screenname via email, text or other means.
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