Within two weeks the southern United States was pummeled by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and our neighbors south of the border felt an 8.1 magnitude earthquake — an overwhelming amount of devastation in a relatively small proximity. It felt like a reminder from Mother Nature, lest we forget who’s really in charge.
Here in Houston, my heart goes out to everyone suffering in the wake of the storm. Small businesses, too, struggle tremendously after disasters. According to the 2013 Small Business Disaster Survey, 74% of small business owners don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place, while 84% don’t carry natural disaster insurance. While stark, these statistics aren’t terribly surprising — after all, small businesses are often so strapped for time and money that they barely have time run day-to-day operations, let alone plan for a disaster that never feels imminent.
But when these unforeseen disasters hit, work is disrupted, orders are lost, and fulfillment becomes a non-option. While large companies have plans in place and are able to recoup lost time and revenue, small businesses feel the pain for a long time. Here are 5 ways you can help the small business community after a hurricane or natural disaster.
FEMA reports 40% of small businesses never reopen after a disaster because the cost of recovery is too great to bear. Indeed disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma can be make-or-break for a small business — those owners have much to do to recoup their losses, so the least we can do is help them out where possible.