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Preparing for a Severe Storm - Small Business

Are the finances of your business disaster-proof? Plan ahead for the unexpected by taking these simple steps to protect your business:

Gather important legal documents, which should include:

  • Make advance arrangements with key vendors to provide support services to get you back in business should the unexpected happen.
  • Develop a vendor services list or database with key contact phone numbers to help you return your business to operation as soon as possible.
  • Insurance policies and riders can help better protect your finances against unexpected events. Familiarize yourself with your existing coverage and review your coverage annually or any time there is a significant change impacting the company.
  • Secure financial records such as accounts payable and receivable, payroll and banking information, as well as customer databases or information and employee records.
  • In case of an imminent storm, protect your equipment, relocate it if possible, if not elevate it above flood level, protect with plastic sheeting, plastic bags and duct tape.
  • Plan for Emergencies - This might be as small as a stolen laptop or as large as a hurricane. Know how your business functions and flows, keep track of all your suppliers and vendors, establish a contact list and coordinate (and involve) all areas of your company in planning.
  • Stay or Go? - You need both an evacuation plan and a plan for staying in place during a threatening event.
  • Include Your Whole Team -Involve employees from all levels in planning. Set up phone call trees, run drills and share printed and electronic details about your company's disaster plan and procedures.
  • Prepare a Crisis Plan for Before, During AND After an Event - Everyone should have a copy of your plan and know how to implement it. Employees also need to know how to communicate and what steps to take before, during and after a disaster, regardless of its magnitude.
  • Consider preemptive measures, such as having automatic backup generators in the case of a power outage, as well as proactive measures, such as alternate locations to conduct business if your facility is unusable.
  • Keep in touch with a real estate agent or company with extra offices for lease that can provide you with a useable workspace on short notice.
  • Create an emergency response plan for your company that includes an evacuation plan, emergency numbers and the locations of key shut-off valves, including water, electrical and gas, complete with pictures. Put a plastic-protected version of this plan on a bulletin board for easy access, and then distribute digital copies via flash drive.
  • Owning a business can represent a highly concentrated risk on your personal balance sheet. If you own a business, developing a portfolio of stocks and bonds outside of your company stock can help diversify your financial assets.
  • KEEP CASH RESERVES AND CREDIT LINES – A business should keep a cash cushion in case it runs into financial difficulties, such as an unexpected decline in revenues. Each business’s cash reserve needs are unique, depending on factors such as the number and salaries of employees and other regular expenses. However, many experts recommend that businesses keep at least three months’ worth of cash needs on hand. Beyond the cushion, it’s also worth establishing a credit line or other borrowing mechanism — before it’s needed — so the business has something to fall back on in case of a financial crunch.

Disaster Recovery Quick Contacts

Regions Customer Assistance Program (Mortgage):
1-800-748-9498
regions.com/loanhelp

Regions Customer Assistance Program (Home Equity and Other Consumer Loans):
1-866-298-1113
regions.com/loanhelp

Regions Personal Credit Cards:
1-800-253-2265

Regions Business Credit Cards:
1-800-253-2265

Business Banking Assistance:
1-800-REGIONS (734-4667)

SBA Loans (Disaster Related):
1-800-659-2955
Disaster Assistance

Regions:
1-800-REGIONS (734-4667)
regions.com/locator.rf

American Red Cross:
1-800-RED-CROSS
redcross.org

The United Way:
liveunited.org/myuw

FEMA:
(800) 621-FEMA
TTY (800) 462-7585
www.fema.gov

Salvation Army
www.salvationarmy.org