12 Tips to Prepare your Business for Unexpected Disasters

Updated on January 31, 2020
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As a small business owner and juggler of oh-so-many tasks, you likely have plenty of things to think about each day. Maybe you haven’t given too much thought to how your business would get back on its feet after a major disaster. If so, you’re not alone! Almost 70% of small business owners say they don’t have a written disaster recovery plan.

But the ever-present risk of disasters should be on your mind. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Floods. Fires. They’re happening more often than they did a couple of decades ago. Just last year, 14 disasters struck the US, and each inflicted damage to the economy of $1 billion or more. (The average from 1980 to 2018 was about six major disasters per year.) Disasters can strike anywhere and, when they do, they can hit your business hard and create long-lasting impact.

Major disasters can lead to lost income, unexpected business expenditures, regulatory fines, contractual penalties, or even lost customers. With all of these hurdles, it is easy to see why anywhere from 40% to 60% of small businesses never reopen after a disaster and why, even among those that do reopen, another 24% close in the two years following the disaster.

A magic number in the disaster recovery timeline is five. Following a disaster, 90% of small businesses close within a year if they aren’t able to reopen within five days. That’s because businesses that are closed for prolonged periods of time lose customers and sales and can amass costs that are too large to handle.

That’s why it’s important to assess potential threats to your business and develop a detailed disaster preparedness plan ahead of any potential disasters. No one can predict when the next disaster will happen, but every business can plan for the unexpected.

Check out the infographic below to learn 12 simple, but important, ways your small business can prepare for a natural disaster and how it can best respond during and after:

Sources: Nationwide | CNBC | FEMA | SBA | Google | BrightLocal | Clutch | Esurance | Insurance Journal | Indeed | Comm100 | Small Business Trends | Fifth Third Bank | Moz | GoFundMe

Meredith Wood

Meredith Wood is the founding editor of the Fundera Ledger and a vice president at Fundera. She launched the Fundera Ledger in 2014 and has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade. Meredith is frequently sought out for her expertise in small business lending. She is a monthly columnist for AllBusiness, and her advice has appeared in the SBA, SCORE, Yahoo, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, American Banker, Small Business Trends, MyCorporation, Small Biz Daily, StartupNation, and more. Email: meredith@fundera.com.
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