You may have heard, there’s a hurricane headed this way. The news is full of multi-case scenarios, with the only solid information being to “prepare.” All of this preparation has now led to gas and water outages, more than four days before the storm is even scheduled to hit.
The drama, the panic, the what-if scenarios. The Plan A or Plan B or Plan C. It’s all extremely distracting. There was already work to be done.
Clearly, a category 5 hurricane that is 400 miles wide coming our way is something so far outside of my control that there is not much I can do to stop it from happening. But there are definitely things I (and all business owners) can do to make sure I am ready for the storm.
- Finances and Insurance: Gather up the important information for my business: business license, bar card, access information for business accounts, business check book, business insurance… anything that has to do with the banking and insurance part of my business.
- Taxes: Find that big envelope of receipts. No matter what, I need to keep that safe and dry so that come tax time I have the information handy.
- Mail and Packages. We had a significant mail delay after the storm last year. I know there are a few things that could be mailed to me in the coming days. I’m going to proactively ask the senders of those items to hang on to them until the storm has passed. Same thing for UPS — I will be putting a hold on our location through my “MY UPS” account so that packages aren’t delivered or attempted to be delivered right before or right after the storm.
- Use the cloud. Don’t risk losing the all important flash drive or document on your hard drive. Save your data to the cloud (iCloud or Google Drive or DropBox). You can access it later, even if your location or equipment is damaged or lost.
- Electronics and Equipment. If you can, take your computer or other vital equipment with you. If you can’t secure it – keep it up off the floor. Unplug monitors and computers in case of power surges. While insurance can replace these things, the process can take time and keep your business from being operable longer than necessary.
- Information Security: Secure the important private information of others that I have in my possession. In my case, it’s birth certificates and a few social security numbers that are in my files. But you may have credit card information or something similar. Even if there is a disaster, even if your office is looted, you still carry some liability if that information is taken from you and used to harm your clients or customers.
- Work In Progress: Even in the middle of the chaos, I am still responsible for making sure deadlines are met. I am still responsible for completing things in a timely fashion – or for communicating any delays. I will be taking some time today to touch base on a few ongoing projects to make sure any major milestones are met. I will also be letting my clients know that I may be out of touch for several days at the beginning of the week.
- Pipeline: To keep the cash flow going, the work must go on. Don’t use the hurricane – or any event you can’t control – as an excuse not to follow up on future work. It will likely only take a few minutes, and honestly, your future self will thank you.
I know some of these things are common sense. But it can be all too easy to be sucked in to watching the news and Facebook all day, and focus on only taking care of yourself, your family and your property. If you own a business, you need to remember to handle a few details for it as well.
Stay safe out there!