Preparing Your Business For A Disaster

In the wake of disasters, whether forecasted or not, a lot of focus is put on personal preparedness. But do you have a disaster plan for your business? Putting systems into place and thinking ahead can instill confidence in the face of any catastrophe.

I’ll cross that bridge when I get there

The statistics regarding small businesses navigating disasters are rather grim. According to a 2014 FEMA study, 40% of small businesses fold after a major natural disaster, and 75% of businesses without a plan fold within 3 years after a major natural disaster.

A few things to think about:   

Where do you live?

What types of disasters can you reasonably expect in your area, and what do they entail? Here in Iowa, we may face flooding, tornadoes, blizzards. On the coasts, hurricanes could be on the horizon. In the west maybe you need to prepare for wildfires. Be aware of whether you may need to evacuate, whether you may be sheltering in place, or whether you’ll have any advanced notice.  

Where does your data live?

This is a big question, often overlooked. In an age of clouds and remote facilities, it’s easy to assume that your data can survive anything. However, regular backups are necessary to ensure that you can get back on track, in the event that your website or other platforms go down.

If you haven’t done a data audit in a while, here are some key reasons and tips for getting that done asap.

People, Then Property

If all the preparation seems overwhelming, prioritize the tasks that protect people, then those that protect property. Some tips include:

  • Research the best ways to protect your buildings and other structures, including whether you need a generator.
  • Develop policies regarding when employees will not be expected to drive into work. For instance, you can mirror local schools. When they shut down, you could plan to allow employees to stay home.
  • Create an emergency supply kit for your workplace.


Think through the worst case scenarios and prepare procedures accordingly. Create a disaster plan, communicating it with and making it available to all employees.

Keep careful records of everything from your systems and processes to the contact information of all your vendors, customers, clients and employees. Store these on an off-site or cloud-based location.

Plan, Then Test

Even the best laid plans need to be tested, reviewed, and edited as necessary. Plan to run a series of tests on your systems and to run some drills to make sure you aren’t forgetting or overlooking anything, and to ensure that the procedures you have in place are effective.

Preparing to Come Back

The goal of your plan should be not only surviving, but coming back to serve your clients, customers, and community once again. The more prepared you can be, the better chance you have of that. Businesses that ride such storms successfully are poised to help in the rebuilding and recovery efforts of their disaster-stricken communities. Plan to be there.


U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Preparedness Expanded Guide

FEMA Ready Business Hurricane® Toolkit (includes printable checklists)

National Hurricane Survival Initiative Business Checklist

How Can We Help?

We talk a lot about marketing technology – but none of that matters if you lose everything in a natural disaster. Before something happens, let’s get your plan in place. We can help you manage and store your data, website, and marketing assets in a safe location so you are more prepared for the unknown. Contact us today.

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