Take Steps Now to Plan for and Recover from a Disaster, Says SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business”

Washington, DC—In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, small business owners should ask themselves some difficult questions about potential disasters. What if the worst does happen? How would it affect my business? My family? My employees? How can my business survive if it were shut down for weeks, months or even longer?

A proactive approach to managing potential disasters will help to ease the impact on your business. SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” offers five tips on preparing for disaster recovery.

Recognize that your business can suffer a natural disaster. Small businesses across the nation have been affected by disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and ice storms.

  • Develop your recovery plan before disaster strikes. Make sure everyone in your company is familiar with the plan and knows what steps to take in emergencies.
  • Review your business insurance coverage and make updates where necessary. You will need coverage not only for property damage and loss, including inventory, but also for business interruption.
  • Take steps to ensure the safety of employees and customers. Every business should have an evacuation plan. Make sure proper emergency equipment is ready and accessible, including well-stocked first aid kits, fire extinguishers and batteries. Consider training staff members in CPR and first aid.
  • Secure your computer system. Keep backup programs and duplicate records, including accounts receivable and client information, at a separate, safe location.

SCORE has stepped up its outreach to the small business community nationwide in response to Hurricane Katrina. Local SCORE chapters also are doing their part.

Atlanta SCORE is helping Gulf Coast entrepreneurs by providing 7-day-a-week business counseling at three major evacuee centers outside Atlanta. Many other chapters, including Mobile SCORE and Baton Rouge SCORE, have increased their services.

In addition, SCORE offers a wealth of learning guides and business tools for entrepreneurs at www.score.org so that their small business is poised for recovery. As part of September National Preparedness Month, SCORE offers links to resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Institute for Home & Business Safety and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The SCORE home page also provides several important links for small business owners affected by Hurricane Katrina. These include SBA Disaster Loan Assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency Application for Assistance, and Ask SCORE Online Business Advice.

More than 1,200 SCORE online counselors can answer questions on a wide variety of business topics, including disaster preparedness and recovery. Questions can be submitted 24/7 and answers come within 48 hours.

Since 1964, SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” has assisted more than 7 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through counseling and business workshops. More than 10,500 volunteer business counselors in 389 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses.

For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Or, visit SCORE on the Web at www.score.org