What Entrepreneurs Can Do to Overcome the Impact of Natural Disasters Although natural calamities are unpredictable, one can sketch a plan that may be useful in managing businesses when they strike.

By Pui Ki

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Natural calamities such as floods, fire, hurricanes and earthquakes are major concerns for businesses across the globe. At any time, an enviornmental or atmospheric disaster can strike down companies and cause significant damages. They can also lead to severe and widespread economic recession, which could take years to recover from. For instance, a report titled "Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight" revealed that the global economy suffered $268 billion in losses due to natural disasters and the pandemic in 2020.

Although these incidents are unpredictable in their totality, one can sketch a plan that may be useful in managing businesses when they strike. Here are some quick points.

Related: I Lost Almost Everything in a Natural Disaster. Here Is How I Recovered.

Free and fair communication

When a company is facing a severe economic jolt caused by a natural disaster, it becomes crucial to communicate with employees, stakeholders and clients. This could garner sympathy and support from all corners and also boost trust. Regular updates about the steps the company intends to take to tackle the fallout would be ideal.

Apart from building trust, transparent communication can also send indiciate to employees and other associates their value in the company, which will eventually increase the company's goodwill.

Get in touch with the insurance company

This is the most important thing that you need to do when facing a natural disaster. Anything can happen during a crisis like this, including damage to office property, vandalism and losing a life. So, in order to ensure the safety and security of office properties and its employees, it is advisable to contact your insurance agent as early as you can for the claim. Also, it has to be noted that companies should regularly be in touch with insurance agents in order to understand the intricacies well in advance, in terms of money or claims, before any natural calamity hits them hard.

Make your online presence felt

During natural calamities, a company can come forward and help customers or other needy individuals who need their services or products the most. If you can, have essentials in stock and that can be given charitably to customers. This not only increases your goodwill and reputation, but also increases your sales in the long run. However, to achieve this, a company needs to always remain active on key social media platforms. This exercise will also help in spreading awareness about the company's recovery.

Related: Where to Turn When a Natural Disaster Upends Your Finances

Set up an emergency operations plan

When your business is struck down due to a natural calamity, instead of pressing the panic button, design a roadmap for immediate action. Assign and decide the responsibilities to your workforce and make full use of your key employees. You may want to allow remote work for the time being. In a nutshell, a company can redesign its work policies and in a crisis, even if temporary.

Assess your business model

Once the impact of the natural disaster slows down, you can evaluate your business model, including budgeting and spending capacity. You may have incurred loss in the form of property damage or data theft, so think about expansion or cost-cutting once things get better. Any decision taken in haste, especially about business operations, can prove detrimental. Therefore, consider all parameters before making any announcement or executing any plan.

Back up key data

Usually, companies store all key and important information in an official datatbase, but there is a great possibility that it can get damaged or someone can steal the data during such a crisis. Therefore, the first and foremost step for companies is to safeguard their data. It can be done through encryption with double or triple security layers or by saving data in a cloud-based document system. Also, a USB drive with an encrypted code or any other software such as a chip could be a safe bet.

Regrouping and reorganizing

Companies that have been hit hard can collectively join hands together and approach the government and other government-backed institutions for financing. This would help them raise funds and repair any serious damage. In addition, this could pave the way for better relationships with other firms and government agencies as you eye business expansion down the road.

Bottom line? Disasters will happen, but there are steps you can take in anticipation of — and subsequent to — any calamity to come out capable of conducting business as usual.

Pui Ki

Senior Analyst

I cover financial-technology news and entrepreneurship.

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