When disaster strikes, the consequences to you and your business can be crippling. But fear not: there are ways to mitigate the damages with proper preparation. (Credit: Barry Bahler)
When disaster strikes, the consequences to you and your business can be crippling. But fear not: there are ways to mitigate the damages with proper preparation. (Credit: Barry Bahler)


The Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1; it runs through November 30. While the prediction for storms this season are modest (slightly less than last year), all it takes is one big storm in your area to wreak havoc with your business. Consider the devastating flooding that occurred early June in many parts of the U.S. Here are some suggestions to help you be prepared for any disaster that may come your way.

1. Review your disaster preparedness plan

If you have a plan in place, look it over to make sure you’ve done what the plan directs you to do (e.g., have emergency supplies on the premises). If you don’t yet have a plan, make one. Resources to help:

[Related: How to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan]

2. Keep records in the cloud

A flood can wash away all of your office papers. But if your information is stored in the cloud, you can easily recover everything. Take the time to scan your documents and store them in the cloud.

Keep all of your passwords accessible. Consider using a password manager stored on your smartphone for this purpose. PC Magazine has a list of the 10 best password managers for 2019.

3. Prep your smartphone

Make sure you have all key numbers in your contact list. These include your insurance agent, repair people you use (e.g., electrician), and all of your employees. Also be sure to have numbers for vendors and other business associates.

Add apps to your device to help you through disasters. For example, you want to have an app that will inform of weather conditions. You may also want an app to stay in contact with others. For example, Zello Walkie Talkie is a free app that lets you communicate faster than texting.

[Related: How to Save for a Rainy Day, When You’re In Business for Yourself]

4. Check your insurance
If you wait until the weather report tells you a storm is coming, it may be too late to have the insurance you need to cover potential losses. Discuss now with your insurance agent what you have and what you should have. Then decide what you can afford. Insurance to review:

  • Business owners policy (BOP). Check the limits of coverage under your basic insurance policy.
  • Business interruption insurance. This coverage will pay the bills that don’t stop despite a disaster, such as rent. Depending on the policy, it may even cover profits lost during an interruption.
  • Flood insurance. Depending on where your business is located, your BOP may not cover property damage caused by flooding. Check with your insurance agent and FEMA.

5. Talk to your employees

Your company needs a business preparedness plan, but your employees need their own personal plans for their families. Consider advising them of this and providing resources they can use to craft their personal preparedness plan:

[Related: Tragedy Inspired This Mom to Start a Travel Safety Nonprofit]

Final thought

It’s a well-used phrase: hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Enough said.

Barbara Weltman is the founder of Big Ideas for Small Business, Inc., which publishes Idea of the Day. She is the author of J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes 2019 and other books that inform the small business community of tax, financial, and legal information they should know about. 5 Things to Remember for Your Disaster Recovery Plan