Friday, September 21, 2001

George Mindling Column 9-21-2001- Half Over

Hurricane Season Is Half Over

The hurricane season is half over and we've just had our first tropical storm! If you didn't do any preparations for the possibility of getting blown away, congratulations! You are half-way home without lifting a finger!

If, on the other hand, we get really nailed before the sea s on is over, well, too bad. Maybe you can recover from the damage and maybe you can't. A complete lack of planning generally results in a bankrupt business. Tropical Storm Gabrielle was a wake up call for all businesses in Charlotte County.

There are many areas of assistance for small businesses here in the Charlotte County. Even the Chamber of Commerce has a free CD to enlighten the small business owner about disaster preparedness. Preparing for your business is different than preparing for your home or boat. In your home, making the house habitable again is the prime concern.

Without power, if there is no glass to repair your broken windows, no power for the air conditioning, and no screens for the windows, the Florida heat and bugs will make life pretty miserable.
Cooking on a camp stove becomes routine and ice becomes more important than you could ever believe. Your refrigerator will stink. Tap water becomes undrinkable. The word visquine becomes part of your vocabulary. Staying dry with temporary roofing and sleeping without nature's intruders becomes a way of life. Your business, however, faces a far different set of problems.

The loss of cash flow from a disaster will undoubtedly impact your business, perhaps causing bankruptcy. A loss of power for several days may be just an inconvenience, nothing more than dead batteries in your cell phone and two or three days of lost revenue.

Flooding may keep customers away for several days, if it doesn't ruin your inventory. Most businesses can suffer several days loss without having to close the doors permanently. However, putting a new roof on your building or getting a new Certificate of Occupancy may take six months to a year. maybe longer .

Many buildings, shopping centers, and malls in South Florida were severely damaged and unusable (or more than a year after Andrew. Many businesses did not reopen. Even the smallest firm should have some form of Business Continuity Plan. It doesn't have to be a multi-volume set of binders, just a plan to get the company back on its feet. Identifying the risks to a company and developing a plan to repair, replace or substitute those items are the premise of any plan.

One of the prime items to have is same form of Business Continuity Insurance. It is a must-have item if you plan to maintain a company income and maintain payroll. Your responsibilities to your employees are more than making sure they have ID badges so they can return to work in a controlled or damaged area.

Remember, they are concerned about their families and houses just as you are. The loss of cash flow for them can be disastrous. But hey, the hurricane season is half over and football season is here. Let's drop the tailgate and get serious!

George Mindling © 2001

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