Getting Your Business through a Natural Disaster

No one knows when lightning might strike, quite literally, but you don’t have to worry about what will happen to your business in the event of a natural disaster if you’re prepared.

While there’s no way to protect against all losses, there are plenty of strategies to help you through a disaster. Follow these simple tips to keep your business in position to weather any storm.

Purchase Relevant Insurance

Businesses that rely on physical assets and locations are the most likely to suffer massive financial outlays when hit with a natural disaster. Protecting these assets with a comprehensive insurance policy isn’t optional—it’s simply a cost of doing business.

Be sure to purchase ample coverage. Invest in a policy that insures for the full replacement value of equipment and structures as well as lost income from loss of use.

Pro Tip: Depending on the size and type of your business, it may be worth your while to pay for a professional risk assessment to determine which hazards present the greatest risk to your company.

Keep an Eye on Cash Flow

Smart cash flow management is key to riding out any rough patch. Dealing with a natural disaster is no different.

Businesses with poor cash flow fail quickly when revenue streams screech to a grinding halt. Talk to your accountant about financial strategies that protect against the potential of having several months without income coming in.

Set Aside Cash Reserves

Every business needs a safety net. Running out of cash can lead to bankruptcy even if you’re insured. Natural disaster insurance tends to carry high deductibles and there will always be incidental costs not covered by your policy. A healthy store of cash reserves is part of any well thought out business budget.

Maintain Lines of Credit

Keeping available lines of credit open guarantees you’ll be able to borrow money in a pinch. The best time to apply for a line of credit is when business is booming, not when you’re desperate.

Implement an Effective Invoicing System

If you haven’t taken the hint so far, protecting your business against a natural disaster all boils down to cash flow. Keep tabs on accounts payables and make sure you’re getting paid.

If a natural disaster hits your company, it’s very likely your vendors, suppliers and customers will be hit, too. You don’t want to be sitting on a pile of outstanding debt you might not be able to collect right away.

Here are a few tips for getting invoices paid in a timely manner:

  • Send invoices on time and be sure that the due date and payment terms are clear and easy to read.
  • Keep an accurate client database to ensure you’re always sending bills out to the right people.
  • Don’t be shy when it comes to unpaid invoices. Contact clients with a friendly reminder the moment an invoice is late.

Take Advantage of the Opportunity

If a natural disaster strikes, don’t panic.

Instead of focusing on the negative, look at the crisis as a real opportunity to streamline your business, trim fat, cut costs and reevaluate your processes.

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