Even with the best precautions, any business can experience a crisis, including equipment failures, thefts, accidents or natural disasters. Businesses that cope best already have a disaster plan in place. The plan should include phone numbers and email addresses of all employees; bank, insurance and leasing information; customer information; and any information vital for running the business. Employees should know what steps to take during an emergency.
SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business" also offers five tips on recovering from a disaster.
· Follow the disaster recovery plan. The company should have a copy that is easily accessible at the business, plus at least one copy elsewhere.
· Contact the staff to make sure they are safe and well. Update them on the status of the business and the potential impact to their employment and income.
· Use a backup computer system. Companies should have programs, files and duplicate records, including accounts receivable and client information, at a separate, safe location.
· Contact the insurance carrier and schedule an appraisal. The business should have coverage not only for property damage and loss, including inventory, but also for business interruption.
· Consider SBA-backed loans to aid in recovery. Loans to businesses of all sizes are available up to $1.5 million to repair damage to real estate and replace machinery, equipment and inventory. Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available for qualified businesses unable to pay bills or meet operation expenses.
Many SCORE counselors have disaster recovery experience, and they are willing to share their advice. SCORE also offers learning guides and business tools for entrepreneurs at www.score.org Click on "Disaster Prep and Relief" for important links to SBA Disaster Loan Assistance, the FEMA Application for Assistance and Ask SCORE for Business Advice.
In addition, Southern California SCORE offices can help entrepreneurs and business owners following the recent wildfires:
San Diego SCORE– www.score-sandiego.org
Inland Empire SCORE – www.iescore503.org
Orange County SCORE – www.score114.org
Coachella Valley SCORE – www.coachellavalley.scorechapter.org
Los Angeles SCORE – www.scorela.org