Whether you experience a storm, fire, or flood, the consequences of a natural disaster can seem devastating to any business owner. While a natural disaster is completely out of anyone’s control, that does not mean that you have to live with the devastating consequences it causes. Knowing what to do and how to rebuild your business in the wake of a natural disaster can help you safeguard the future for the company, yourself, and your employees.
Make Sure Everyone is Safe
Before focusing on the practical ways in which you should start to rebuild your business after a natural disaster, it is first necessary to outline the importance of safety. As a business owner, you are responsible for making sure that everyone in your place of business is safe after a natural disaster has occurred. Remember that people will likely be shaken and in shock and that everyone will process the events differently, and you should be as thoughtful as possible to your staff during this difficult time.
You should already have safety measures in place in case of a natural disaster. For example, you need to have a dedicated safe meeting area outlined so that staff knows where to evacuate in case of an emergency. You will need to have dedicated, trained staff members to take the lead in case of fire or any other form of natural disaster. If you have found that these measures are not in place you should make swift efforts to rectify this. You might also want to consider attending a safety and first aid course.
Once you have made sure that everyone in your place of business is safe, you can then start focusing on how to rebuild your business.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you know that all of your employees and anyone else that might have been in your place of business is safe, it is time to contact your insurance company. As one roofing company St Louis explains, it is vital that you contact your insurance company immediately to ensure that you are eligible for the largest claim. Your insurance company should send a representative over to assess the damages that your property has sustained. Once this step has been completed, then you will likely be able to begin rebuilding your business.
You should be aware that it is common for businesses that have sustained damage from a natural disaster to become a target for criminals. Office break-ins and vandalism might well occur if you do not have adequate steps to protect your property. You need to lock and block off all possible entrances. Make sure that your computers are protected so that a criminal cannot access any sensitive or valuable data. You will also need to contact the police to let them know about your property’s vulnerable state.
Update Investors and Employees
After contacting your insurance provider and taking steps to protect your property, it is time to communicate with your investors and employees. While you are working out a plan to rebuild your business, it is vital that you are as open and honest as possible with all relevant parties. You should send out a memo to investors and employees updating them about the situation and your current plan of action.
Once you have updated all staff and investors, you will want to communicate with customers. You should consider publishing a statement on your website and social media accounts about what has happened. This will enable customers to be understanding and sympathetic during the coming period as they realize the cause for any delays they might be experiencing.
Implement a Remote Working Model
If you cannot re-enter your property immediately after a natural disaster, you will need to implement a remote working model. This can be difficult for businesses that have never operated in this way, but it is necessary to ensure that your productivity rates are not too greatly impacted.
The key to implementing a remote working model is communication. You should invest in communication software to help keep workforces connected and updated on the goings-on. This will enable staff to communicate with each other in a productive manner. You will need to be mindful of the fact that some people will adapt to a remote working model better than others. Be sensitive to those who take more time adjusting by offering them additional support.
Ask for Help
If you find yourself struggling in the wake of a natural disaster, it can be difficult to know where to turn for support. There are a lot of resources out there specifically designed to help with a situation like yours. For example, you can contact FEMA, which has a fund dedicated to helping business owners rebuild after a natural disaster. The Small Business Administration also has fund and support measures to help businesses struggle after a natural disaster.
No matter how hard a natural disaster hits you, you can always show empathy. If your business was relatively unscathed, then you might want to lend a hand to fellow business owners in the local community. However, if you find yourself struggling to rebuild your business, you will have to focus more internally. You can still show empathy in this situation by caring for staff who are struggling as a result of a natural disaster. Showing empathy does not have to cost anything, but it can help you build strong connections internally in your business and in the local community.
Rebuilding your business in the wake of a natural disaster does not end when you have managed to return to your normal operations, your rebuilding efforts should extend to long-term safeguarding. Planning ahead can help you to mitigate the effects of a future natural disaster. After you have rebuilt your business, making a plan can be hugely effective as you have a perspective and fresh understanding of what it takes to rebuild your business after the effects of a disaster.