By Linda McMahon, SBA Administrator
September 10, 2018

The U.S. Small Business Administration is committed to ensuring America’s 30 million small businesses have the resources they need to address any challenge they face – and no challenge is more daunting than a disaster like a hurricane, wildfire, flood, tornado or earthquake.

SBA is on the ground immediately after a disaster strikes, helping individuals rebuild their homes and replace personal property, while partnering with non-profits and businesses of all sizes so they can get back on their feet with the help of low-interest disaster loans.

Instead of relying on your insurance or a loan to rebuild after a disaster, why not have a plan in place that will make your organization resilient in the face of any crisis? Preparation will ensure you are better able to rebound quickly if you’re forced to halt operations when an emergency happens.

September is National Preparedness Month. SBA has partnered with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) to help businesses become more aware of their risks while also helping them develop a continuity plan. Advance preparation is key to protecting your assets and reopening your business as quickly as possible. Here are two upcoming online events to help you learn more about how to prepare for a disaster:

  • On Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 3:00 p.m. EDT, SBA, IBHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will co-host a twitter chat on disaster preparedness tips for businesses. Follow along with hashtag #SBAchat.

This year’s National Preparedness Month theme is “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.” This effort, led by FEMA and sponsored by the Ready Campaign, is aimed at increasing public awareness of the importance of disaster preparedness. It’s never too early to think about contingency plans. Here are three steps you can take now to make your potential recovery a lot less time consuming and costly:

  1. Plan to Stay in Business
    For small businesses, time is money. In order to reopen faster and get back to business after a workplace disruption, create a business continuity plan using IBHS’s Open for Business-EZ This guide is comprehensive and easy to use.
  2. Talk to Your Staff
    Employees are a company’s most valuable asset. Sharing your plan with your staff will help them return to work faster and will allow your business to get back to normal more quickly and efficiently. Continually reviewing and practicing your plan with your staff will help them understand their role in disaster planning and recovery.
  3. Protect Your Investment
    It’s important to know which natural disasters and severe weather events pose a risk to your business. Protect your business by considering the following:
  • Review the related terms of your insurance coverage.
  • Store your important business records safely at an offsite location and save as much as you possibly can to the digital cloud.
  • Prepare your supply chain and develop relationships with alternative vendors in case your primary contractor isn’t available. The entrepreneur with a solid disaster preparedness plan for how they will quickly renew their revenue flows and get their employees back on the job is more likely to stay in business and reopen sooner after any interruption. Planning your next move ahead of time, including incorporating the disaster assistance resources SBA provides, is an important action you can take now to protect your business and your community.
  • These steps can also help your company mitigate the damages experienced in an isolated incident—such as a flood caused by the malfunctioning sprinkler system—that won’t be covered by a federal disaster declaration.