Op-Ed by Allen Thomas: Get Your Small Business Ready

Hurricane Season is Here and the Forecasters Have Spoken- It is Time to PREPARE

The predictions for this hurricane season emphasize the need for preparedness for small business owners.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the NOAA National Weather Service forecasters predict above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin this year. The outlook for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season (June 1 to November 30) predicts an 85% chance of an above-normal season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season and a 5% chance of a below-normal season. The forecast includes a range of 17 to 25 total named storms. Of those, 8 to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 4 to 7 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). We anticipate these predictions every year, and it acts as a great reminder to be sure you and your small business are always prepared. Natural disaster could come in the form of a hurricane, fire, flood, tornado, pandemic- if we only had a crystal ball. 

By taking proactive steps now, you can protect your small business from the devastating effects of natural disasters. Remember, the key to resilience is planning, preparation, and the ability to adapt swiftly to changing conditions. Stay safe, stay informed, and make sure your business is ready to weather the storm. 

The SBA is one of the first agencies on the ground after a natural disaster and we offer direct, low-interest loans to renters, homeowners, and small business owners. We know what it takes to rebuild a community and we are on the ground assisting from day one through recovery. 

We recommend the following steps to prepare for extreme weather and natural disaster for all entrepreneurs. Please keep in mind that of all recorded weather disasters in U.S. history, hurricanes have caused the most damage and fatalities – and small business owners face incredible risks.

Steps to Prepare:

  1.  Assess the risk: Small business owners should learn the unique vulnerabilities their business may face based on its location and other factors. 
  2.  Create a plan: Small business owners should create an easy-to-access plan tailored to their business’s specific needs and operations. The SBA’s Preparedness Checklists provide a helpful framework. Plans should include important items such as remote work arrangements, a critical contacts list which includes local emergency services, utility companies, suppliers, and insurance providers. The preparedness checklist includes reviewing your insurance coverage for your small business and many other items- this is a critical checklist to review!
  3. Execute your plan: Small business owners should review and practice their plan with staff to ensure everyone is on the same page. By remaining proactive, small business owners can put themselves in a stronger position to recover and sustain themselves should disaster strike. 

Please remember, when a natural disaster strikes, the SBA stands ready to support small business owners and homeowners with low-interest, long-term loans, and other critical resources. The financial and emotional cost of rebuilding after a disaster can be overwhelming for small businesses, homeowners, and renters alike. Please remember to rely on your local SBA team who will be on the ground.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to disaster recovery meets survivors wherever they are, ensuring their needs are centered by the federal government. 

The SBA’s Office of Disaster Resilience and Recovery works closely with its federal, state, and local partners to ensure that all those affected by disasters – including homeowners, renters, and business owners – can get back on their feet. For more information, please visit www.sba.gov and please remember SBA will help you prepare, recover, and build your business to be passed along to multiple generations. 

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Allen Thomas