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  • How to Recover Your Small Business after a Natural Disaster

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    Natural disasters such as floods, fires, earthquakes, and hurricanes can tremendously impact your business. It can wipe out your inventory or cause loss of life and death. And while you cannot prevent natural disasters, you can mitigate their impact. To successfully prepare for these natural disasters, you must anticipate them. It’s necessary to evaluate their impact and how you will handle them based on the severity of the outcome and probability of occurrence. If you are a business owner trying to stay ahead of the common natural disasters, below are some tips to keep in mind. 


    Navigating a Natural Disaster

    Prevention is often better than cure, but many people realize this when it’s already too late. Not to mention that the intensity of a natural disaster can be beyond everyone’s imagination. That means you can anticipate and even plan for a tornado, but a massive hurricane shows up. Or you can prepare for heavy rains, but it turns out to be a destructive flood. Regardless of the situation, here’s how to go about these natural disasters. 


    1. Seek Help Immediately 

    If a natural disaster strikes your business, the first thing to do is to try as much as possible to avoid or reduce the potential losses. Depending on the magnitude of the problem, you may not have the skills or experience to tackle the problem at hand. That means you need to seek help elsewhere. 


    Ideally, you should call in a damage recovery company as soon as your business suffers a natural disaster so they can advise you on the way forward. To make your work easier, you want to work with a full-service firm that handles everything from fire and smoke damage to flood restoration, mold removal, and space decontamination. 


    2. Communicate the Problem as Soon as Possible 

    Once you have sought help or have communicated with the relevant disaster recovery personnel, you want to notify your employees, customers, and other stakeholders about the incident. Typically, this is done for one or more reasons. One is to warn those unaware of the incident so they can avoid the premises and seek safety. The other reason is to spread awareness and perhaps get your employees, customers, and well-wishers to help in any way possible. 


    When communicating the level of damage, you should be honest and transparent. If you have incurred losses or theft of critical assets like a computer with sensitive files, you want to specify that too. This will help avoid legal issues due to breach of confidentiality, loss of sensitive employee or customer data, etc. To be safe, always store your data in the cloud and encrypt any data you store in-house. 


    3. Contact the Insurance Company 

    After informing your employees, customers, and partners about the natural disaster, your next move is to evaluate the damage and contact the insurance company. Most insurance providers have strict rules on how and when a claim should be filed following an incident. Waiting for a couple of days to notify the insurance provider may complicate the claim process. Before getting the restoration and renovation done, ensure you have communicated with the claim officer in charge. 


    You may also want to take pictures and videos showing the level of damage, as this will help during the claim process. If the level of damage is huge, some insurance providers may need to inspect your business before you are cleared to do any major renovations. You should also do a constant follow-up to ensure you get adequate coverage.


    4. Build Up Again 

    Once the restoration is done and the claim process is complete or underway, you should set plans to rebuild your business. Remember, giving up isn’t an option. Leverage your online community to seek help where necessary. If you lack the resources, you can organize an online fundraiser to get your business up and running again – this time with more energy, passion, and experience. Similarly, access your backed-up data and have them configured to ensure nothing critical to the business is lost. This could also be the time to focus on further renovations that can help enhance your business.


    Natural disasters can happen anywhere, anytime. If your business is affected, you should respond quickly and smartly. A rule of thumb is to have an up-to-date disaster management strategy woven into the overall business risk management plan. The disaster management strategy should reflect the most common natural disasters in the area and things to do to minimize or avoid losses altogether. 


    When choosing a disaster restoration firm, always go for a full-service company to ensure convenience. The firm should also be accessible at any time (i.e., 24/7) and be dedicated to serving its customers. You should also invest in employee training to ensure they have the basic skills to respond to a disaster.  

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