NEW YORK Tornadoes and flooding in the Midwest and South are painful reminders to small businesses about the need for disaster preparation a task that often gets pushed to the bottom of a company owner's to-do list.
Don't let the potential size of preparing for disaster stop you. Get started on the most important things you need to do to keep your business running.
FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU CAN/CAN'T DO
If you have a manufacturing business or a retail store and it's damaged in a disaster, you'll likely be shut down until you've been able to clean up and repair your premises. You can get yourself up and running faster if you think now about what you'll need to do. That means knowing who you'll call for repairs, and contacting them now to be sure you're on their priority list.
You also need to be sure you have duplicate ways of getting things done. If your Internet provider is down, have a backup ready. Go online and look at such sites as www.ready.gov/business and www.sbaonline.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance/disasterpreparedness/index.html. Alaska also has information online at www.ak-prepared.com.
REASSESS YOUR INSURANCE
Having enough property and casualty insurance is a critical part of disaster planning. Many owners cut back their coverage when their cash flow was tight during the recession. But if your business is doing better, don't jeopardize your future by skimping.
Visit the Insurance Information Institute's Web site, www.iii.org, and the site for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners at www.insureuonline.org/smallbusiness.
FLOOD AND EARTHQUAKE COVERAGE
Chances are, you're not covered, unless you purchased a separate policy. The standard business owner's policy will cover you for fire and wind and rain that comes in through a broken window or damaged roof. To learn more about flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov. For earthquake insurance, visit www.earthquakeauthority.com.
This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, May 4, 2011.