Hurricane Sandy Preparation Tips for Small Business Owners

With roughly five days of warning, the east coast is preparing for what is being described as “Frankenstorm.” A rare, late season hurricane that is expected to collide today with a cold front loaded with snow over some of the most populous regions of the United States.

This storm will likely also cause problems and other damages to small businesses. Planning before a hurricane — or any natural disaster or unexpected emergency — is key to business survival.

Every business should develop and test a plan for possible emergencies. The guides should address critical issues including payroll, restoring technology and communicating with employees, customers and other key personnel. A disaster recovery plan should be established with the employees that know your business best, with responsibilities for specific tasks assigned before disaster strikes. This is a critical time to assess ricks and make a plan on how the company will respond to disasters. Also selecting a back-up site where business operations can continue is important. This location should be equipped with critical equipment, data and supplies needed by the business and employees.

Employees need to be informed and knowledgeable about the company’s emergency plan, along with a reliable method of communicating with them. If your business has physical property, this needs to be secured. Before the disaster, back-up computer systems, company records and secure equipment. Important contact information for employees, key customers, vendors and suppliers as well as insurance companies needs to be accessible.

Most importantly, an owner needs to be prepared to meet emergency cash-flow needs. Enough cash needs to be on hand to handle immediate needs, and commercial credit cards should be distributed to essential personnel to cover emergency business activities.

Last, but not least, customers need to have your business’ emergency contact information for sales and service support, as well as alternative methods for placing orders and payments.