What Disaster Could Mean for your Small Business
To say that the rising cost of natural disasters in America is devastating would be an understatement—in 2018 alone, we’ve seen areas of the Southeast decimated by hurricanes, large portions of California burnt away by wildfires, and death tolls from weather events continuing to rise. While the loss of human life is of the utmost importance, the financial price is also staggering, leaving many domestic locations irrevocably damaged.
From storm watches to frequent evacuations, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the punishment Mother Nature is doling out, and preparedness is hard to come by. After all, predicting the weather isn’t an exact science, so it’s difficult to know what danger lurks around the bend. It leaves one with a lot of hard questions to answer: how do you best protect what matters most? Those you love, the home that you’ve worked for, and the business you’ve built from the ground up.
While there are no easy solutions to these puzzles, you should know that there are steps you can take to help secure your livelihood as a small business owner. The first? Having a frank discussion with a financial professional about your standing, your risk level, and your goals. Letting their knowledge and experience guide your planning efforts can lend to greater peace of mind, but for many, starting that conversation is easier said than done. If you’re looking for suggestions to better your sense of security, we have some options you may want to consider exploring with a pro.
Preparedness 101: What You’ll Need if Disaster Strikes
Retirement – This may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re faced with a fire or flood, but the fact is, solid retirement planning can also aid you in the here-and-now. From loans to hardship withdrawals, your retirement fund can act as emergency access to cash in the event of the worst, and nailing down the procedure for getting that money is a great way to start formulating your rescue plan.
Savings – While this may seem like a no-brainer with or without the threat of property damage, disaster preparedness adds another necessary layer to the importance of having savings. In the event of an extended power outage wherein you’re unable to stop by the bank or process a credit card payment, having cash socked away in a safe place could serve as useful. Beyond that, having a dollar amount in mind that would cover bills if you find yourself unable to conduct business for a while can give you a clear goal to shoot for.
FEMA – If there’s anyone to seek out in the wake of destruction, it’s the Federal Emergency Management Agency (or FEMA). This government-run resource is designed specifically for assisting folks in distress, from individuals to businesses and beyond. Should you find yourself already on damage control, seek them out and see what they have to offer you.
The SBA – Always a valuable resource, the Small Business Administration may be able to save the day by fronting a loan if your company falls victim to catastrophe. Offering natural disaster assistance is just one of this organization’s benefits for business owners, so if you haven’t checked them out yet, ask your financial professional to get you started.
Insurance – While you may already have all of the policies in place that the law requires, have you examined your insurance coverage for natural disasters? If not, it’s better to get an early start than to wait and file a claim that’s denied. Catastrophe insurance is not always a given in standard property policies, so it’s wise to go through your specifics and decide whether supplemental coverage is necessary.
Inventory – Expanding on the theme of necessary insurances, one element that is often overlooked is maintaining a record of all of your company’s physical belongings should you need to cash in on a policy. If you keep receipts for tax purposes, you’ve already got a head start, but all hope isn’t lost for those who are less organized. Consider taking photographs or recording a video of your office, so you’ll know exactly what you’re missing (and what it’s worth) when it really counts.
All of these ideas are part of the picture of disaster readiness, but they are only portions of the whole. Real security comes from the plan that’s drawn up with your business in mind, and that’s one of the main benefits of consulting a financial professional. There are no cure-alls when it comes to catastrophe protection, just tailored strategies and potential solutions. If you haven’t called up a pro yet, what are you waiting for? Your business’ future could depend on it.
AGE-143012 (02/19)(Exp. 02/21)