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Small Businesses Need To Prepare For Emergencies, Disasters

Aside from the devastating death toll, more than 125,000 jobs were lost in U.S.’s Gulf Coast area due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In Louisiana alone, more than 20,000 businesses were shuttered. In fact, an Experian study showed that Katrina affected more small businesses than any other business segment. Worse yet, Ad Council reveals that nearly two-thirds of U.S. small businesses do not have an emergency preparedness plan in place at all, putting themselves at severe risk from unexpected disasters (whether man-made or natural). Furthermore, according to the Insurance Information Institute, four out of 10 small businesses never reopen their doors after being affected by a natural or man-made disaster. If you’re a small business and are now suitably worried, you should be.

The truth is that as a small business owner, you can do something to mitigate the damage of a disaster on your business.  To start, here are three key things you can look at:

Red Cross Ready Rating

If you’re U.S.-based, check with the American Red Cross Ready Rating program, which helps businesses become better prepared for emergencies. The Ready Rating website,, provides a free assessment tool that dives deeper into specific areas of preparedness. Other countries may have their own versions of such tools.

“Safeguard Your Business” by AT&T

You can also check AT&T‘s recently launched an initiative, “Safeguard Your Business”, which shines new light on the importance of small businesses being prepared and offer simple, proactive steps to preparedness (small businesses do not have to be an AT&T customer to participate). “Safeguard Your Business” includes an interactive “Quick Check for Disaster Prep” online tool that lets you quickly assess a small business’ state of preparedness or “readiness” for emergencies and disasters.

Looking Into Insurance

Many small business owners look at insurance as an unnecessary expense, and usually take up those either mandated by law or the minimum required. That can be shortsighted, and leaves the business owner without adequate . Check state laws governing business for the kinds of insurance you may need for your business, such as public liability insurance, amongst others. You may want to speak to a business lawyer to see what other forms of insurance protection you need.

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Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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