Businesses are encouraged to have a continuity plan to help them survive the storm AND stay in business. Owners of both large and small businesses need to have secure storage for data and files, alternative sites for doing business, methods of communicating with employees and customers and appropriate insurance. These are just a few items to consider when putting together a business continuity plan.
Set up a to-go box for critical papers
Use a plastic, waterproof container that can be used to hold and carry important business documents and helpful forms including:
Business preparation tips
Employees need TLC
Communicate your business hurricane plan with your employees. Remember, too, that your associates may need some extra consideration. Probably all of your employees need time to prepare their own homes and talk with their families about their own personal emergency plans.
Business interruption insurance
Business owners need to think about what they would do if their buildings were unusable after a storm. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Special note for home-based businesses
All businesses, large and small, are thinking about emergency preparedness. And, home-based business owners should be doing that too.
“Home-based business owners should be aware that after a disaster, they may qualify for SBA Disaster Loans and possibly unemployment benefits, if they are unable to work,” said Dr. Cynthia Johnson, Senior Manager of Business Assistance at Pinellas County Economic Development.
A Go Box is another critical item every home-based business owner should pull together. One action to take right now is to back up computer information on CDs or another portable medium. Store those back-ups in the Go Box too. Take photos of your home office, both inside and out, to take along.
“Just like all business leaders, home-based business owners should ensure they safeguard essential business documents and information in a Go Box,” said Johnson. Ideally, that box should be backed up in an alternative location in the event the home is destroyed.
Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program - A life raft for businesses after a storm
Short-term loans of up to $25,000 will be available to owners of small businesses in counties most impacted by a storm. The interest-free loans come in terms of 90-day or 180-day maturities. To be eligible, a business owner must have been operational for one full year prior to the storm, have less than 100 employees and verifiable, physical damage to their business.
Should a hurricane strike our region, Pinellas County Economic Development will quickly distribute information regarding available bridge loans to local businesses and the media. SBDC Certified Business Consultants at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will assist business owners with the forms and applications needed to prepare for and recover from disasters.
See Small Business Recovery Information for more information.
Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center