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Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
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Friday, September 8, 2017

Prepare Your Business for Withstanding a Hurricane

As businesses and residents of Texas and Louisiana recover from Hurricane Harvey, those of us in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina brace for the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Although it can feel overwhelming to prepare for a natural disaster, especially one of this magnitude, there are steps each of us can and should be taking right now to make sure we are ready. 

Invest a little time now to make sure you, your employees, your relationships with your vendor partners as well as your customers and your facilities are prepared for whatever is headed your way. Here are 5 things businesses can do today to prepare:
  • Establish from where employees can obtain important updates during an emergency situation, especially when and where to return to work if there is a satellite or back-up location.
  • Determine how your choice of operations before, during and after the storm will be communicated to all your partners, including customers, prospects and vendors alike. If you have overdue updates to partners' data, enter those new email addresses or phone numbers before things get too hectic.
  • Verify all computer programs, documents and data are being automatically backed up from each team member's technology to a remote location, preferably via an online cloud back-up solution that will save the information to multiple servers in various parts of the country. Choose whichever option works best for your needs at the lowest cost between Backblaze, Carbonite, Crash Plan and Mozy.
  • Decide how you will facilitate payroll if you are displaced, lose power or have intermittent Internet connectivity.
  • Make certain you have proper insurance and it is up to date. Ask your insurance agent, broker or underwriter if you are adequately covered for potential property damage as well as what business interruptions you could possibly face. 
If conditions become unsafe to go out, you might be stuck at work or your home; therefore, make sure you have what supplies might be necessary for the long haul. Visit http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit for what should be included in a disaster supplies kit and, then, start accumulating it all, storing them somewhere easily accessible yet secure. For more about what you need, click here for a video description, and take actions to get ready now.

Power outages are regularly a by-product of natural disasters, particularly when strong winds are a factor; therefore, prepare for potential power outages with these steps:
- Fill up your gas tank. Without power, the pumps don’t work.
- Visit your bank's ATM for cash. Credit and debit cards won’t work during a power outage.
- Charge your mobile devices and try steps from http://bit.ly/VcvO6u to conserve battery consumption. If you can, get at least one back-up battery, like this Unifun 10400mAh Waterproof External Battery Power Bank Charger, Techlink ReCharge 3400 Portable Charger or PowerNow USB Rechargeable Mobile Battery Charger.
- Keep on hand extra batteries for your flashlights so you are always ready to see in the dark.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has partnered with Agility Recovery Solutions to provide this disaster planning toolbox, from which you can obtain checklists for recovery overview, critical business functions to consider, assessing your risks, creating your emergency communications plan, phone recovery, your disaster recovery kit, winter weather preparedness, earthquake preparedness, tornado preparedness, wildfire preparedness, flood preparedness, hurricane preparedness, crisis communications to consider and much more. I highly recommend small business owners and entrepreneurs check these out to troubleshoot what's missing from any company's preparedness plan.

Above all, though, make a plan, prepare for possible communication gaps, have the supplies you need on hand and keep what you’ll need remotely stored in the cloud.

For more in-depth advice to prepare for future natural disasters, attend my lunch and learn workshop "When Disaster Strikes, Will Your Business and Your Team Be Ready?" at 11:30am to 1:30pm on Thursday, September 28th. September is National Preparedness Month, and we'll address tactics to help you, your team and your entire business become prepared for emergencies, including hurricanes, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, fires, winter storms, terrorism, geological events and technological issues. By attending this class, you'll learn how to do the following:
  • Create an Emergency Response Plan
  • Find solutions for data and paperwork challenges
  • Build an Emergency Preparedness Kit
  • Develop a Communications Strategy
  • Maintain and update plans
To gather additional details and reserve your spot, please visit http://bit.ly/preparedness17.

What natural disasters are issues where you reside? How have you prepared for those potential issues? What steps can you take now to be fully prepared for the next emergency to strike?

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