It's not just tornadoes and hurricanes. Even everyday disasters—a failed server, burst pipes, a fire—can cripple a small business. Use these advance-planning steps so you'll be able to jump into action when you need to—and keep your business thriving.
When Jayne DiPierro relocated her Staten Island, NY, store On Your Toes Dancewear, her reason wasn't to avoid damage from hurricanes—she was expanding into a bigger space. But as it happens, when Hurricane Sandy blew in, the new store was in a safer neighborhood and suffered no flooding. Even so, like many local businesses, DiPierro's business was closed for five days because of power outages.
"Small businesses are particularly vulnerable in the aftermath of a disaster," says Carol Chastang, spokeswoman for the Small Business Administration's Office of Disaster Assistance. "Many don't come back." A disaster-preparedness plan can help, but three out of four small businesses don't have one, according to a Symantec study. This is a short-sighted and costly mistake because the more quickly you get your business up and running again, the less revenue and the fewer customers you'll lose.
Here's what disaster and insurance experts have to say about protective steps your small business should take now—before disaster strikes—so that you can jump into action should you ever need to.