While summer fun might be top of mind right now, a disaster could put a stop to that fun in an instant.

Is your business ready to prepare for, endure and minimize the effects of a disaster?

An estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen in the aftermath of a major disaster. Even the strongest of small businesses can suffer from the unexpected.

"We lost 30 percent of our yearly revenue in an ice storm that nearly cost us the business," SCORE client Andy Ciordia of The Secret Chocolatier admits. "We've had building issues where a waterfall erupted from our ceiling with no cause of our own. Those are the real unplannable challenges that you just have to weather or be sunk."

While you can’t prevent most natural disasters from occurring, you can take steps to be prepared to face them.

Preparing for a Disaster is Worth the Time

While it may not be enjoyable to look ahead at the ways your business might be vulnerable to a natural or other disaster, it’s better to plan for the worst than to actually experience it.

If you can, spend a day or two working with your team to discuss threats to your business and ways you can avoid or minimize them. Our Small Business Disaster Planning Guide can guide you through your preparations.

Another option is to spend an hour or two to review emergency procedures as each new season arrives. For example, many SCORE small businesses in the south are preparing for hurricane season. California is dealing with devastating wildfires. Evaluating one type of event at a time can relieve some of the stress of considering all the terrible things that could happen to your business.

Print These Checklists to Get Started

Just want a few quick guides to get you in the mindset? Regardless of your location or climate, every business should review the following checklists:

Evacuation Checklist: If you need to leave the area in a hurry, you’ll want to know what to take with you.

Crisis Communications Planning Checklist: This checklist will explain how you can convey emergency information internally and externally should a disaster strike your business.

Disaster Recovery Checklist: After a disaster, turn to this checklist to get your business back to normal ASAP.

You may also find these checklists for specific natural disasters helpful. Remember, even if these events aren’t typical in your area, you may find yourself affected over the course of your business. It’s better to be informed and prepared, just in case!

Winter Weather Preparedness Checklist

Earthquake Preparedness Checklist

Tornado Preparedness Checklist

Once You Get Prepared, Do This

What’s next once your team gets ready for whatever Mother Earth might throw at it? Ask your small business colleagues and neighbors if they’re prepared for natural and other disasters.

If they’re not, share your resources and checklists with them. Then, discuss your plans with the businesses around you, so that if disaster strikes, you can all recover faster together — and help each other along the way.

Want to learn more about how your business can prepare for disaster? Meet with a SCORE mentor who can help you prepare for natural disasters you might not have considered.

About the Author(s)

Bridget Weston Pollack

Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing & Strategy at the SCORE Association.

Vice President of Marketing & Strategy, SCORE
business emergency plan