The pandemic has shown the Coloradoans the importance that small businesses play in our local and national economies. It was essential for entrepreneurs to change their business models and switch overnight to new ways of selling their products and services.
The US Small Business Administration highlights the resilience of entrepreneurs and the renewal of the small business economy as they better recover from the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic.
While defeating the pandemic is central to our growing economy, our country remains vulnerable to various natural disasters, including forest fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and drought. History has shown that up to 25% of businesses that close due to disasters never reopen. All Colorado businesses should develop crisis preparedness plans that take into account what we have learned over the past 18 months from the pandemic.
Here are six simple business strategies a business can use for future crises:
Evaluate the exposure. Know your community and the types of disasters most likely to affect your business. Consider your proximity to flood plains, areas of forest fires, and other hazards. Of course, the COVID 19 pandemic remains the first exposure issue on the list.
Review insurance coverage. Consult your agent to determine if your coverage is sufficient. You may need separate flood insurance. Purchase business interruption insurance, which helps cover operating expenses if you are forced to temporarily shut down.
Review your supply chain. Establish relationships with other suppliers in case your primary supplier is not available. Place occasional orders with them so that they see you as an active customer. Create a contact list for major contractors and suppliers that you plan to use in an emergency. Keep this list offsite.
Create a crisis communication plan. At the start of the pandemic, many business owners did not have contact information for their employees and suppliers. Establish an email / Twitter / Facebook alert system, keeping the primary and secondary email addresses of your employees, suppliers and customers. Provide updates to your customers and the community so they know you are still in business and rebuilding yourself after a crisis.
Establish a written chain of command. Notify your emergency chain of command employees if your business goes down. Maintain a clear disaster and sick leave policy. Have a back-up payroll service in the event your office is destroyed.
Develop a continuity plan. The plan should indicate when it will be activated, identify critical business functions and the staff to perform those functions, determine which employees will be considered non-essential versus essential, and identify the records and documents that need to be secure and accessible to perform the functions. key functions.
Frances Padilla is the Colorado District Director of the US Small Business Administration and oversees agency programs and services across the state. For more information visit www.sba.gov.