Small Business Is Tough Enough: The Challenges of Small Businesses After Disaster

Disasters, I know we all hate that word. As humans we cling to ourselves and simply say, “It wouldn’t happen to me.” But the data shows not that, but rather when it will happen.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 40% to 60% of small businesses fail in the aftermath of a major disaster. The number of presidentially declared disasters has doubled in recent years. However, many disasters do not affect as many people as these publicized events. In fact, fire is the leading commercial disaster.

If that wasn’t bad enough, researchers roughly estimate that: half of businesses don’t survive the first 5 years and 8 out of 10 fail within the first 3 years after a disaster. *

Small businesses face unique challenges that are very different from their larger counterparts. Since 52% of businesses are operated from an owner’s home or property, their ability to recover is harder simply because they have to focus on two recovery efforts. There is not enough time to get them done quickly and easily. If their work is in their home, there is no place to continue working. Property damage to a small business owner affects both the family and their business.

While owning a small business may seem like the American dream, owning a small business comes with many challenges. But after disaster strikes, the challenges run deeper. There seem to be repeated opinions of these owners before and after the disaster.

Here are 7 challenges small business owners face after a disaster:

1. The illusion of security

2. Nothing can be done to protect against this

3. Complete a 360-degree disaster for the individual

4. Self-imposed boundaries

5. Unwise use of financial resources

6. Not understanding what is happening to their customer base

7. Assuming everything will be back to normal

Starting a business is a huge accomplishment for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining it is the biggest challenge. There are many standard challenges facing every company, large or small. The biggest challenge for a small business owner is planning.

Small business owners invest an enormous amount of time, money, and resources to make their ventures a success, however, many business owners fail to properly plan and prepare for disaster situations. You can protect your business by identifying the risks associated with natural and man-made disasters, and by developing a plan for action in the event of a disaster. By keeping these plans up to date, you can help ensure the survival of your business.

When disaster strikes, having a plan and being able to implement it right away can mean the difference between staying open to serve customer and community needs or closing for a few days.

I know, not another plan! Who has time for that?

Flexibility is different from readiness. when being prepared is something you do; Flexibility is what you become. To become more resilient, you must take you as the owner deliberate an act. Do one thing today. (just one thing). Do you back up your data? No, then get it done. Do you have an emergency contact list for your key employees, suppliers and customers? No, then get it done. Do you review your insurance policy each year with your agent? No, then get it done. Little by little, doing one thing brings you closer.

You have finally achieved your dream. Don’t lose it due to a power outage, hacking disorder, fire, earthquake or other disaster. If you are not prepared, disaster could put you and your employees at risk, and possibly shut down your business forever.

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