A definite uptick in wild weather has not been just an inconvenience for people trying to get about their daily lives but at the other end of the spectrum, wild weather can have devastating impacts on small business if they are underprepared.

Floods, cyclones and fires have the power to destroy communities and small businesses, which are the backbone of any local community. These natural disasters also can affect infrastructure (roads, bridges, ports) which can then affect supply chains, making moving goods and services in affected areas impossible.

In addition to this, significant damage to buildings can lead to costly repairs and loss of revenue.

Mother Nature does not discriminate, so it’s prudent for businesses to have a continuity and protection plan in case things go awry.

Risk mitigation is essential and it’s important to be ready for all types of emergencies and ensure your business continues operating. An emergency management plan will help those affect get back on their feet quicker and keep their business afloat. What things should a business owner consider as part of their disaster and recovery plan?

1. Insurance – Review and update your insurance coverage regularly to ensure it adequately addresses the risks associated with natural disasters.
2. Risk assessment – Identify the potential natural disasters that could affect your area (e.g., floods, cyclones, bushfires). Assess the vulnerability of your business to these disasters.
3. Emergency Response Plan: develop a plan that outlines what to do before, during and after a natural disaster, and if you have employees, train them on emergency procedures.
4. Data back up and recovery: Regularly back up essential data and store backups in an offsite location. Make hard copies of important documents and store them offsite. Consider cloud-based storage solutions for critical business data.
5. Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of phone numbers you’d need to reach out to. In addition to emergency, fire, police and ambulance services, you should also include your insurance company, bank, employee contacts, supplies and other key people.
6. Communication Plan: Establish a communication plan for your employees, customers and suppliers and also identify multiple communication channels you can use. Also make sure you know where local community organisations are that can provide aid following the wake of a natural disaster.
7. Remote work Options: In the event of a natural disaster, develop remote work policies and ensure you and your employees have the necessary tools to work from home if needed.
8. Financial Back up: maintain an emergency fund to cover immediate expenses in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

As overwhelming it is to consider all of the above, taking these steps, small businesses can enhance their resilience and improve their chances of recovering quickly in the aftermath of a natural disaster.