Cleaning up the Industrial Industry

When Disaster Strikes: Keeping Your Business Afloat After A Natural Disaster

by Alfredo Harper

Keeping your business up and running after a hurricane, tornado, or other natural disaster is no small feat. Getting back into the swing of things as quickly as possible is critical, however, as many small businesses can't afford the lost revenue that comes from remaining closed down for an extended amount of time.

In addition, re-opening as soon as possible is a way to show solidarity with your community and even help inspire other small businesses to reopen as well. Here are six tips for getting your business back on its feet after a natural disaster:

Call Your Insurance Agent

You will want to contact your insurance agent as quickly as possible after the natural disaster. Insurance claims can take quite a while to come through, and the sooner you get the ball rolling the sooner you will be able to get your insurance money should you be entitled to any.

Your insurance agent will most likely require documentation of the damage done to your business. It's best to take as many photos as possible, and then clearly label and organize them. Take notes as well, and keep your notes and photos neatly organized together in a file folder. You will want to bring this file with you when you meet with your insurance adjuster.

Enlist Clean-up Help

If the damage to your business is limited, cleaning up could involve something as simple as you, some friends or family members, some industrial sized trash bags, and a mop and bucket or two. For more extensive damage, you may need to have your insurance company send disaster cleanup professionals to clean up your property in the safest manner possible.

Rent a Temporary Boiler

If your boiler was damaged by the natural disaster, you may be alarmed to learn that it can take several weeks or even months for a replacement boiler to be ordered, delivered, and installed. In the meantime, if you rely on a boiler for heat, you're going to need to go to websites and find an immediate solution. Renting a temporary boiler until your old one can be repaired or a new one can be delivered is a great option.

Rent Port-a-potties

If the natural disaster has temporarily left your bathroom facilities unusable, you may still be able to reopen your business by renting a port-a-potty or two. While not ideal in the long run, a temporary port-a-potty will allow your employees and customers to take care of their restroom needs during the days or weeks immediately following the disaster, allowing you to open a little sooner than you might be able to otherwise.

Take Out a SBA Loan

After a natural disaster, your business may qualify for a small business loan from the federal government. Disaster loans can be used to repair or replace a variety of equipment and other assets that were damaged or lost in the natural disaster. You can learn more about SBA disaster loans and fill out an application here.

Get The Word Out

After a natural disaster your customers may assume you will be remaining closed for quite a while. In order to let them know you've re-opened and to get business flowing again, you will need to get the word out via social media or your marketing tactic of choice.

Something as simple as sending out a tweet or updating your business's status on Facebook can do the trick. Word of mouth is another great way to let a large number of potential customers know you're up and running- simply ask anyone you know or anyone who stops in to let their friends know.

By following these tips, your re-opening should go smoothly even after a serious natural disaster.