When it comes to any business, staying ahead of the competition is always the most important step to sustain growth. Sustainability is not just dependent on the stock values and your turnover, it also depends on the decisions you make for contingencies. Contingencies do not always come informed. Natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, etc., come unexpectedly. Such scenarios warrant you to prepare and plan well ahead.
With green-house emissions, rising pollution levels, and many other reasons attributing to a global climatic change, you can never rule out a possible natural disaster. The most worrying attribute of natural disasters is that they can strike anytime and anywhere and in any form. It is therefore important that you are proactive in making decisions that will keep your business running smoothly even during tough times.
Effect of Natural disasters on businesses
Nature doesnt spare or is biased towards anyone. It affects everyone equally, be it in a positive or a negative way. When natural disasters like hurricanes strike, it affects all businesses in the same manner. But it is the way certain businesses and business owners handle the situation, which makes all the difference.
When nature decides to take the matter into her hands, in the form of an earthquake or a tornado or a flood or any other possibly disastrous situation,
- All carefully thought out plans go for a toss in the wind.
- Supply chains can get broken
- A lot of workers might lose jobs
- Damage to equipment, machinery, and sometimes even life becomes impossible to evade.
- Facilities and factories could face devastation
And there are many other possible scenarios that could arise, making it really impossible for the business owners to handle the aftermath.
Unlike man-made situations, natural disasters cannot be averted. One has to find solutions that work realistically in the given situation and learn to work around in these scenarios. This is also why most businesses have a contingency plan in place to handle such situations arising out of natural disasters.
While larger corporations and industrial giants will be able to handle the loss and destruction such situations bring, smaller businesses might take a lot of time to stand up again if there is no futuristic planning.
Tips to prepare for natural disasters
Planning ahead is the only way to mitigate the risks to your business during times of natural disasters. As much as an investment is important to increase your productivity, it is equally vital to preserving your business through preventative measures.
- Assess the risk
Even before you plan for the possible measures, you have to assess the risk associated with these situations. To know the risk, you have to first start with identifying the assets that your business owns. It could be as small as a chair and table in your office to the expensive machinery in the factory. You have to take stock after considering the possible disasters that could strike in your regions.
You have to understand that disasters like earthquakes and volcanoes are subject to certain geographic regions/ conditions, while cyclones might occur in many regions. Depending on the threats, you have to assess risk both to the monetary and the digital assets in your business.
- Make a plan
When natural disasters strike, they have the potential to destabilize not just a business but an entire country or a region. And this is a situation you cannot escape from, and hence you need to plan ahead. There are two phases that you need to plan for:
- The duration of the natural disaster. For instance, in the case of a cyclone, the planning should be on handling the business or keeping your assets intact when the cyclone actually strikes.
- The aftermath. This is the most crucial time when businesses lose out on. You have to get back on your foot at the earliest, count your losses, and put in a plan of action to handle the days that come after.
When you are planning for a natural disaster, you need to take into account the following:
- The person or team who will handle the entire situation during and after the disaster
- If the business will be shut during this period or if it will be able to continue.
- If the business can run without the office space or employees coming to the office.
- Handling external and internal communications.
- Evacuation plans for sudden disruptions when at work for everyone.
- Communication to customers in such situations.
- Keeping your stock protected
- And most importantly, the insurance plan for your inventory and other possible assets.
You have to make sure that your plan covers all the important and possible scenarios for all kinds of situations.
- Training and implementation
Preparedness also means that all the involved employees and other people associated with you are trained with the prepared plan. To give an example, everyone needs to know the evacuation route to follow and the amount of time they have to do so in case of emergencies. Apart from the evacuation plans, the contingency plans like operating business out of a different location also need to be tried and tested to ensure efficiency during such situations.
Entire lives get upended with such disasters, and business disruption is among the least when you look at the entirety of the destruction. And yet, it cannot be overseen as it has the potential to damage many other lives financially. Planning proactively for all possible scenarios and keeping yourself prepared is of paramount importance, not just to stay afloat but also to rise up again.