Hurricane Sandy – A Tragedy And A Wake Up Call

You can take precautions to minimize the effects on your business and your life

I received an email today from Bob Negen of Whizbang Training. It’s a very worthwhile "read". So here it is (slightly edited) with a brief note at the end about one of our customers..

Every single store, every single business, every single person is vulnerable to disasters of all kinds. I’m sure many folks are reeling from the devastation caused by Sandy this week – dazed and confused that it happened to them.

You can’t always keep bad stuff from happening. But you can take precautions to minimize the effects on your business and your life.

  1. Write an emergency procedure for your staff. What should be done first, second, third, in case of a fire? Or a power outage? Or earthquake? Or tornado? Or hurricane? Or if the store is robbed? If you don’t know what you should do, call your fire department or police department. They can help you. 

    Having these procedures in place can save lives, prevent injuries, and minimize damage to your business.

  2. Double check your insurance policy. Make sure you have enough coverage for your entire store, including all your merchandise, fixtures, equipment, supplies, building, etc. Call your insurance agent if you’re not sure.

    Ask if you’re covered for debris removal as well as replacement costs. Find out if you’ve got loss of business coverage. Talk to your agent about your deductibles for each type of disaster. We’ve had too many retailers tell us the insurance coverage they had was not sufficient to cover all the ancillary costs associated with their disaster.

    Although it may be tempting, this is no place to cut corners.

  3. Take a "one shot wonder" video or digital pictures of your store. You will not remember everything you had until you need to claim it later… and it’s gone! Make a spreadsheet listing all the big items you own like furniture, fixtures, artwork, computers, or other office machinery and include make, model and serial numbers where possible.

    After a major disaster it is difficult to think clearly – or even at all. Make it easy on yourself by planning ahead.

  4. Do backups for all of your data. Imagine the crippling effect it would have on your business (and your life) if your lost all the information in your computers. Your customer lists, your sales history, your inventory data, and your financial records… not to mention all the seemingly small stuff you’d have to re-do from scratch like merchandise signs, employee manuals, forms, checklists, brochures, and other marketing pieces. 

    Many businesses never recover from this kind of loss. Although you may not guess it, re-creating your data is much harder than re-building a store or re-buying merchandise. Sometimes it’s plain impossible.

Mother Nature’s fury is unpredictable so it’s important to be prepared before disaster strikes. Even though you don’t want to think about it… it could happen to you. 

Norma Note: A few years ago, one of our customer’s business burned to the ground – building, merchandise, accounting data – anything and everything needed to run their business. That was the bad news. The good news was that they were up and running within two weeks in a rental location.

Why? They did complete backups nightly. Most importantly, management had a policy of removing the backups from the store. Different personnel took the backups home with them on a rotating schedule. The whole city would have had to burn down for them to lose everything.   ~Norma

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