6 Hurricane Recovery Tips for Small-Business Owners
As a small-business owner dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane hitting your business, one of your major priorities is to get your business up and running as soon as you can. As you start to think about how you’re going to do that, you might be wondering: What are some of the must-do tasks you can tackle right now? Here are six things you can do right now for your small business.
1. Sign Up for Federal Aid
If you haven’t done so already, consider applying for federal aid for your small business with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), says the Small Business Administration (SBA). You can submit a request by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or visiting DisasterAssistance.gov and applying online. Requesting federal aid may help you get some of the necessary funds to start rebuilding your business. You can also look into disaster aid for unemployment due to you and your employees being out of work because of the hurricane.
2. Consider a Disaster Loan
The SBA also offers affordable disaster loans for businesses to help cover expenses due to damaged property after a hurricane that was either uninsured or underinsured. This can be another way for you to jump-start the rebuilding process for your small business. You can apply for a loan by mail, online or by visiting a local SBA disaster recovery center.
3. Get Local Business Counseling
Another resource the SBA offers small-business owners is business counseling. Visit this map to find your nearest office. You can also reach out to your local government office and chamber of commerce for additional help with your recovery.
4. Contact Your Insurance Agent
Make sure to contact your insurance agent immediately, if you haven’t done so already, to file a claim for your business, says the Insurance Information Institute (III). Your insurance agent should be able to tell you how long it’ll take for your claim to be processed and whether you need to provide estimates for repairs, adds the III.
5. Find Reputable Contractors
After a hurricane strikes, contractors are often in high demand to help start the rebuilding process. Make sure to be alert to spot contractor scams during this time, says the III. The III and SBA mention reaching out to the Better Business Bureau to help confirm the contractor is reputable. You should also watch out for any requests for money upfront or to sign a contract immediately. According to the III, take your time and collect business cards from perspective contractors and ask for written estimates to review further.
6. Notify Employees and Customers on Your Progress
You may want to consider keeping your employees and customers in the loop on your progress. Check in with your employees to make sure they’re OK and discuss a realistic timeframe in which you think your business will be back up and running, says the SBA. You can also consider using your company’s social media page to give customers details about when you expect to reopen.
Going through a hurricane can be stressful on you and your small business, but knowing what you need to do to recover can help you get back to work as soon as possible.