As a business owner, being prepared is one of the best traits you can have. Whether it’s preparing to lose your largest customer overnight, a team mate asking for a leave of absence or a big ole’ category 5 hurricane coming to town, like Hurricane Irma, being ready for an emergency is something every business owner should be prepared for. Here’s a list of things to be prepared for when the biggest hurricane ever known to mankind comes knocking.
Your team and your customers should be your #1 priority.
Don’t open your business just to open. If opening your business could put your employees, your customers, or yourself in harm’s way just stay closed. Missing a day of business won’t kill you, and closing down might actually save you money if the storm is dampening demand.
If it’s not in the cloud, make sure you have a copy. Ask your service providers (legal, accounting, etc.) to do the same. Portable hard drives are crucial. If you’re working from a desktop, drop those important documents into an external drive and keep it with you. Powerful storms can bring power surges, fires, and floods, all of which, could ruin computers.
Don’t forget to take precautions with your non-digital assets too. Move what you can away from windows and to higher ground. Don’t let the storm send you on a shopping spree to replace the things you’ve lost.
Know your P&L
Your Profit & Loss Statement is a guide to how your business is doing. Understand how to read one and what to do with it.
Do you have insurance?
… Do you have the correct insurance? This one might be obvious, but some business owners put off insurance until the last minute. It can protect you from extravagant emergency costs. The right insurance will also protect you from the damage you inadvertently cause. If a tree on your property causes damage to other people’s stuff, who is responsible?
Call your bank
Confirm that your payroll will run during emergencies like hurricanes or other storms where people lose power.
Make sure to pay your bills! — Set up automatic payments if you need to.
What will you do if you can’t make money for a few weeks?
If you have a physical location — and it is in the area affected by the hurricane, do you have a hurricane kit ready?
Will your business be open?
Create a plan for your team. It doesn’t need to be long, just have something in place. If people can’t come in, what is the protocol? If they can come in, do you want a full staff, are they carpooling. Again, have some sort of plan.
What happens if you can’t open, does landlord expect you to still pay rent? Check your lease agreement.
Save money for a rainy day.
It’s tough to be prepared for everything, but having a rainy day fund comes in handy for emergencies – even actual rainy days.
If your business is safe and sound but your community isn’t, consider helping relief efforts. Examples include Anheuser Busch canning water instead of beer, a furniture store in Texas opening to stranded people, and Jack Browns Burger Joing donating profits for a whole week.