By Claudio Sorrentino
Hundreds of small businesses were negatively impacted as Hurricane Irma roared through the state. While some may not recover from the damage to their structures or their subsequent loss of business, some were able to recover quickly and expect to return to business as usual within days or weeks.
We were able to reopen our doors within only five days of Irma making landfall and heading north. The steps that we took could be a lesson to other small business owners in the area should such a disaster strike again. They are as follows:
- Make Sure All Are Accounted For: As any small business owner knows, partners and employees become family. In the aftermath of a weather event like Hurricane Irma, or any other type of serious situation, the first priority is accounting for everyone. We made sure that staff, friends and family were safe.
- Assess Damages: Damages cannot be repaired when they remain unknown. Our second priority was to make a critical assessment of damages to their locations. Knowing what has been destroyed or damaged allows a business owner to make a list of what must be replaced or repaired. You must attend to some repairs immediately in order to reopen quickly, while others can wait until after the business day has ended.
- Wait Until Power Is Restored: A business cannot operate without power. Some may try, but they will not be able to offer the same level of service that their customers and clients have come to expect. Don't be tempted to open the doors before you are ready. Work with service providers as necessary to ensure that your power is restored as quickly as possible and ensure team members are ready and able to work on the date that power is expected to come back on.
- Reach Out to Your Clients: Any small business owner with a social media presence can use that tool for outreach and support. Use the good name of your business to not only seek help but to help others. Reach out to your clients to keep them up to date as you are preparing to reopen your doors. Your clients, especially those who have been loyal to you, will be looking to your social media page for news about your employees as well as your business. Maintain contact with the latest updates.
- Stay in Touch With Suppliers: Lastly, be sure that you stay in touch with partners, suppliers and others who have a hand in ensuring your business stays afloat. Keep everyone with a stake in the business updated as to your status and progress. This helps to ensure that you have what you need when you are ready for it. Remember that you didn't become a success on your own. Likewise, you won't reopen on your own.
Small businesses across southern Florida were impacted by Hurricane Irma. It isn't the first disaster that the state has survived, and it won't be the last. Rather than allow Mother Nature to ruin your business, use these actions as an example of perseverance against natural disasters, despite the odds.
Claudio Sorrentino is the CEO of Body Details, one of the nation's fastest-growing cosmetic laser service provider recognized by Inc. 5000.