Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma have taken a toll on many home-based, work-from-home, Mompreneur, Solopreneur, Entrepreneur-style of businesses. Not since 9-11 has the impact been so great on the self-employed in affected areas. Entrepreneur natural disaster tips are key to your business surviving whatever may come.
To preface, the fact that I couldn’t post this article on WordPress, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more was proof that I was ill-prepared for Hurricane Irma. My phone was my primary contact method, computer, and news source for almost three weeks. On the positive side, it made me learn every setting on my phone, all camera functions, and which apps actually work on the go.
During the evacuation, I quickly realized that I was ill-prepared for Hurricane Irma. Armed with merely a phone, how could I manage a home-based business without all my platforms easily accessible? It’s a scary thought to not be able to work and be limited by technology. It hurts business and lowers profits. To help you avoid business loss and keep some stress at a minimum, this post contains your ultimate entrepreneur natural disaster tips.
Entrepreneur Natural Disaster Tips for Business Survival – Plan Now.
Communication. When you learn you have to evacuate because of a natural disaster, time is limited. It’s often too late to adequately prepare yourself and your family, let alone your entire business. What’s my #1 entrepreneur natural disaster tip I wish I could go back and apply to my evacuation planning? It’s my communication platform. It’s the key to any successful business. I have heard and, honestly, have said, “I can run my business from anywhere– even on a beach…”. For a short while, this is true. However, unless you have an unlimited data plan and a new index finger, your wonderful cell isn’t going to cut it.
The key is to plan now for the next disaster. If I had to do it again, I would ensure my communication platform included a dedicated phone line to a ToughBook laptop. Having a computer with a fully functioning keyboard that can download all your documents from your cloud storage will save you a lot of time. You would be amazed how much longer a simple task, like uploading a blog to WordPress, takes to do on your cell phone. Additionally, a satellite phone line will come in hand to maintain communication not only for business purposes but to keep informed on the natural disaster and communicate with friends and family to let them know you’re safe.
Chargers. Entrepreneur natural disaster tips always emphasize the need for working chargers. Make sure your car chargers are in good working conditions and function properly. The last thing you want is your phone charger to become faulty and sporadically charge your phone. New model vehicles have USB plugs. For safe measure, invest in a traditional car charger adapter. You never know when you could have to change vehicles. Make sure you have a wall adapter and backup charging cord. I would also invest in a hand crank phone charger. When all else fails you will be able to create your own juice to connect to the outside world for an unlimited amount of time. Lazy? Go with a portable and powerful Solar USB charger.
Cash. Typically after disasters strike, the internet can be down for days. Without the internet, stores can often not process credit cards. To make sure you can buy what you need, plan ahead and get cash out of an ATM. If you can, store between $400 and $1,500 in a home safe to be ready should the need to evacuate arise. This will also eliminate the mad dash to the ATM, that may be out of cash or may not be working.
Take Pictures. You might be thinking you need to take pictures of your home and office before you leave, and you do. This is great planning should you need to file an insurance claim. However, before you unplug all your electronics, take a picture of what cord goes where! Very often, including in my situation, once the cords became scrambled and didn’t connect to the modem, it caused the server not to be recognized. This resulted in a five-day wait to get a service tech on-sight to fix the issue in my home and home-office.
Buy a Generator. No matter if you wait out the storm at home or evacuate to another state, you’ll want to have a generator. Just like the internet could be out for days, it’s far too likely you will lose power. Depending on the severity of the storm, you could be without power for more than one week. A week without business is something no one wants. To prepare, buy a generator so you can have power and are able to resume work promptly. You won’t waste time waiting for electrical repairs to be completed. Don’t forget the gas! Keep a few cans of gas safely stored. There are mad dashes and price hikes to get gas before a natural disaster. Be prepared and stock up.
Entrepreneur Natural Disaster Tips for Business Survival – Plan Now.
1. Create an Emergency Action Plan before a natural disaster strikes. Use this eTool provided by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It walks you through the process.
2. Use the Red Cross checklist to guide you in an emergency and put together a contact list for your business. Use it as the basis for a plan on how to stay open, or re-open, as quickly as possible after a disaster.
3. Talk to your insurance agent to find out if your premises and equipment are fully covered for likely weather conditions and other emergencies. If appropriate, make sure you are covered for earthquake and flooding.
4. Photograph all business equipment and store it safely off-site.
5. Make sure your health insurance, for you and your employees, covers accidents caused by a natural disaster.
6. Come up with a way to communicate with your employees during and after an emergency.
7. Have an up-to-date list of phone numbers for employees, suppliers, and customers.
8. Put together an emergency kit containing, at a minimum, an emergency radio, solar charger, a flashlight, second phone for backup, water filter and camp stove that burns a variety of materials.
Entrepreneur Natural Disaster Tips for Business Survival – Apps
9. Zello is like a walkie-talkie for the electronic age. It works with a phone that has a connection with the internet.
10. Nextdoor lets you post messages to this app, that is organized by neighborhood.
11. GasBuddy tells you where the closest working gas station is.
12. ICE Standard tells first responders and medical personnel in emergency rooms where to find your medical data.
13. FEMA has an app that keeps you up-to-date with weather alerts, safety reminders, and shelters.
14. Life360 helps you stay connected to family and co-workers. It tracks your movements so people know when you find a safe place.
15. Waze tells you the fastest route, avoid hazards, and find someone with a car that you can carpool with.
16. Red Cross Hero Care has resources for emergency situations.
17. Red Cross First Aid has emergency instructions that can guide you in the event of an accident.
18. Red Cross Blood tells you how to donate blood. Best to do it before an emergency.
19. Red Cross Pet First Aid helps if your office pet is hurt during a natural disaster.
20. Red Cross Emergency helps you monitor weather and other emergency conditions.
21. Red Cross Tornado has instructions for getting your premises ready for a tornado.
22. Red Cross Hurricane helps you prepare and deal with hurricane conditions.
23. Red Cross Earthquake helps you prepare for an earthquake.
24. Red Cross Flood helps you prepare your property for potential flooding.
25. Hurricane Hound tracks where hurricanes are and their progress.
26. Weather Underground has local weather information so you know what’s happening immediately.
27. Natural Disaster Monitor lets you check conditions in case of disaster, as published by the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
28. Disaster Alert is a map that shows active hazards in real-time.
29. ReUnite uses the People Locator, through the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.
30. Trusted Contacts lets people close to you request information about where you are. You decide who has the ability.
31. Red Panic Button lets you quickly send out an email or message with your location.
32. SirenGPS is a community-based app. If your area uses it, you can send out an emergency message to first responders with the touch of a button.
33. Google Public Alerts lets you distribute emergency messages and evacuation notices.
Entrepreneur Natural Disaster Tips for Business Survival – Social Media.
34. Snapchat helps people stay in touch and share information about current conditions.
35. Snap Maps is actually part of Snapchat. It helps people locate where damage is most severe and see what is happening.
36. Facebook Safety Check lets you mark yourself as safe. So even if you can’t get in touch, you can give them peace of mind.
Entrepreneur Natural Disaster Tips for Business Survival – Help from the Government.
37. For help to reopen your business, connect with the Department of Homeland Security. From a long list, you choose the link associated with your state and current disaster.
38. For information about government loans, contact the Small Business Administration.
39. For help regarding taxes and other possible exemptions, contact the Internal Revenue Service.
40. To get help regarding Disaster Unemployment Assistance for your employees, contact the Department of Labor.
41. If you need help for finding a job after a disaster, contact the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.
42. For information on Health and Retirement, contact the Department of Labor.
43. If your premises are a mess, contact the Environmental Protection Agency.
44. Contact the Department of Homeland if you are dealing with stress from the disaster.
45. If you need to replace currency lost in a disaster, contact the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
46. If you are dealing with identity theft due to an emergency, contact the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
47. If you lost essential documents, contact USAGov.
48. If critical documents were damaged in a flood, contact the National Archives.
49. The Food and Drug Administration will keep you up-to-date on food and water safety information.
50. The Center for Disease Control will provide information to help prevent illness during and after a disaster: