Last month, we went over the first part of disaster planning for your business. It is clear that the weather is more violent than what has been typically seen. This increase in severe weather means more damage to buildings and businesses as well. The loss of a business means a substantial loss for the owners and the community as well in terms of income, revenue, local vibrancy, and jobs. In short, businesses need a disaster plan. The basics are as follows:
1) Written Instruments and Communication
Along with any disaster plan, written instruments are a necessity. Reducing a plan to writing is a sure sign that the plan is being developed in a manner which is achievable.
Ready.gov provides a written form which your business can use to prepare and commit a plan to paper. Check signing authority in an alternative person is a must as well. If the key person is not available, there must be a back-up person.
If you provide consumer goods such as groceries and other necessary supplies, security is a must. Over the past decades, whenever there is a natural disaster or riot, the first thing looted tends to be consumer goods stores. While it is illegal for the population to loot, police cannot always protect those businesses and prosecute the individuals responsible for the chaos. Reasonable measures must be taken in order to, if not defend the store; provide footage for law enforcement to catch the individuals responsible for the crimes there committed.
Without the proper finances in place, your business could be shut down. Modern day financing relies heavily on electronic mediums such as credit card readers and telecommunications. Bottom line, if there is no power, there is essentially no money. The solutions to the situation may not be easy.
3) Finances (continued)
Two scenarios come to mind 1) either a back up generator or 2) A remote business location wherein company business can be conducted. A back up generator can be in the form of a portable generator or if you have the money and infrastructure to invest, you may be able to purchase and utilize a whole building back up.
Your employees will also need financial assistance during this time period as well. Two weeks of pay can ensure that employees 1) can pay their bills and endure, and 2) come back as they will be obligated to work for the pay advance you provided them with. This assurance is a good thing to have especially when key employees may be having second thoughts about returning after a large natural disaster.
Additionally a whole wealth of information is provided at ready.gov for individuals and businesses. Just remember that alongside the business, individuals must be taken care of as well. If the individual employees cannot endure their own personal situation, they will be unwilling to stay. Ready.gov provides insight for personal readiness as well and should be followed despite any situation
Every business should have a disaster plan in place in order to survive a natural disaster ranging from the smallest to devastating. People face challenges and businesses do as well. It is important that a natural disaster does not become a personal or business bankruptcy, where a continuation is possible and necessary.
By: Dr. Bart Basi at the Center for Financial, Legal and Tax Planning for Transworld M&A Advisors