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Can your business recover quickly from a disaster?

You never know when a natural disaster might strike and take away all that you have worked so hard to create; we’re talking about your business here. In 2011 alone, the U.S. logged 97 major disaster declarations, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That’s why it’s high time you prepared for the unexpected. Here are some steps that will help you do just that.

  • Create a backup plan: Also called a “business continuity plan”, this written document outlines how your company will respond to a disaster. If you are confused about creating a business plan, you could take some cues from Entrepreneur.com (there are templates to guide you). You could also turn to The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, or IBHS – an association of property insurance companies based in Tampa, Fla – for help; it offers a free series of eight planning sessions accompanied by assignments to help you with your business continuity plans.
  • Get insured: Well, we’re sure you have insured your business, but is it enough? We mean just having an insurance in case of a fire or a pipe burst is not enough. Have you insured it against natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods? If your business isn’t located near fault lines or floodplanes, chances are you haven’t. Well, you should! There have been plenty of instances where even businesses that don’t operate in flood prone areas have had to face losses due to floods. And many standard policies don’t even cover wind damage from a hurricane or utility disruptions from a storm. That’s why you should carefully read your policy’s fine print to understand your coverage.

You could also add a rider or a separate policy to cover losses from severe weather that aren’t included in your existing insurance policy. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, the average flood insurance policy is about $600 a year. Likewise, the average rate for a policy purchased through the California Earthquake Authority is about $700 a year. The Authority offers California residents catastrophic earthquake insurance. The cost of coverage, however, will vary widely depending on how much insurance you buy, what it covers and your property’s risks. Don’t worry; extra coverage should be available in all 50 U.S. states.

  • Mitigate risks: It is always wise to anticipate risks and make attempts to mitigate them. Some examples of risk mitigation are having an alternate server to operate your business’s website when the real one goes down, keeping a generator handy for power cuts, and keeping digital backups of all of your business’s vital financial documents. And if there’s a storm coming (and you can’t easily transport your office or retail shop to higher ground), the best thing to do is to try protecting as much merchandise, inventory and equipment as possible. This can be done by moving computer towers and other essential, valuable equipment off the floor and placing as much inventory as possible on higher shelves or in other safe spots.
  • Seek assistance: If you need some financial assistance, you can turn to the Small Business Administration for help. Through the agency’s Office of Disaster Assistance, you can apply for low-rate, long-term loans for physical damage caused by a declared disaster. Small businesses are currently eligible to borrow up to $2 million for up to 30 years to repair and replace real property, machinery and inventory at a 4 percent interest rate. Plus, SBA also offers an economic injury disaster loan that provides working capital up to $2 million. You can visit the SBA website to learn more about these loans.

Is your business prepared for the next disaster that comes your way?  Our professional IT support services help prepare your business from all possible disasters and any potential risks to your corporate assets.  Call us today to learn more.

 

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