According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), over 40% of businesses never reopen their doors after a disaster. A 2015 survey of 500 small business owners conducted by Nationwide showed that only 18% of companies with fewer than 50 employees had a disaster recovery plan.
When faced when a disaster, only smart planning can help you keep your business running. With the right steps, you can prevent and prepare for a disaster.
Getting Business Disaster Assistance
Here are several sources you can use to help your business recover from a disaster faster and easier:
- To preserve your equipment and business records, the IRS recommends:
- Take advantage of paperless recordkeeping for financial and tax records
- Document valuables and business equipment
- Check on fiduciary bonds
- Plan how your company will survive and recover
- Update emergency plans
- Immediately after a casualty, you can request a copy of a return and all attachments from the IRS
- Use theemergency preparedness checklist and toolkit offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Focus on disasters that are likely to cause more damage to your small business. Use special checklists and tips on
- Winter weather
- Apply for a low-interest small business loan. First American Merchant, a reputablebusiness funding provider and payment processor that specializes in the high risk sector, offers exceptional business financing opportunities, including a merchant cash advance, to merchants of any type and size. With FAM, you can enjoy the lowest possible rates and the best merchant services in the industry.
- Consider Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, authorizes the President to provide benefit assistance to individuals who lost their job as a direct result of a major disaster.
- Flood Recovery Assistance
The US Department of Labor provides assistance to the communities affected by floods.
- Consider special tax provisions for financial recovery.Depending on the circumstances, you may also get additional time from the IRS to file returns and pay taxes. If you’re in a federally declared disaster area, you canget a faster refund by claiming disaster-related losses on the tax return for the previous year, usually by filing an amended return.
- The IRS offers audio presentations on Planning for Disaster, which discuss business continuity planning, insurance coverage, recording keeping and other tips.
- The Farm Service Agency provides a disaster assistance guide for farmers and ranchers after natural disasters.
- Take precautions so not to get an injury or illness in the cleanup process following a disaster. Consider the following agencies and centers:
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- National Response Center
- National Pesticide Center
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Visit FEMA to find emergency management agencies.
It’s not easy to rebuild a business after a disaster. To protect your small business, identify both natural and man-made risks relevant to your location and constantly update your action plan.