Business & Finance

Seven Ways New Jersey Business Owners Can Plan Ahead for a Hurricane

Don Newman, director of small business advocacy for the New Jersey Business Action Center

(Editor's Note: In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma approaching Florida, Don Newman, director of small business advocacy at New Jersey Business Action Center, offers this advice on planning ahead for a natural disaster.)

In the event of a hurricane, is your business prepared for power outages, flooding, property damage, lost work time and more? The longer your business is not operating, the more likely you are to lose customers permanently to your competitors; in fact, up to 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. 

No one wants to consider these misfortunes happening to their business, but with advance planning, businesses will be in a much better position to survive a natural disaster. The New Jersey Business Action Center has seven strategies to help small businesses ride out the next big storm:

Sign Up for E-News

1.    House documents on the cloud, not your office computer:  Most businesses keep onsite records and files that are essential to normal operations. To reduce your vulnerability, determine which records, files and materials are most important, and back them up. These may include income tax forms, accounting software files, customer contact lists, insurance policies, strategy documents and passwords. From there, save these files on the cloud so you can access them from anywhere. 

2.    Keep office property secure:  Raise computers above the flood level and move them away from large windows; move heavy and fragile objects to low shelves and secure equipment that could move or fall during a heavy storm. In addition, hire a cybersecurity expert to make sure your systems are secure and virus free. Protect your most important documents, credit card numbers, email correspondence and more by hiring an expert to set up a secure system well in advance.

3.    Plan for business continuity:  Establish a clear plan for decision-making if you or your business partners are incapacitated. Ensure passwords as well as keys, alarm codes, phone forwarding, etc., are provided to trusted employees in the event of a disaster. Consider financial obligations you will have during interruption, such as payroll and debt service, and ensure a system is in place to pay bills electronically. Establish a social media presence for your business and use it to communicate with your customers and suppliers about your business’ status. 

4.  Make sure your insurance is current:  Review your commercial insurance coverage with an agent or your insurance center; specifically checking the status of your business’s interruption insurance. If disaster occurs, you can file a business interruption insurance claim detailing any lost income. For insurance and tax purposes, be sure to maintain written and photographic inventories of all important materials and equipment, and store in a safety deposit box if possible. 

5. Consider installing an emergency generator:  Powerful storms may cause power disruption and leave your business vulnerable. Even businesses that are not severely damaged by a storm can suffer losses because of the interruption of normal operations or the loss of perishable stock. Back-up power generation will help protect your data, your perishable inventory and speed the process of getting your business back up and running.

6. Identify a backup location: If the primary location of your business is destroyed or severely damaged, you should identify a backup destination where employees can congregate and clients can visit. This will help create a sense of normalcy and ensure clients that all is well. Backup locations could range from a local coffee shop to a large garage or dry basement with Wi-Fi access.  

7. Don’t forget simple planning: Sometimes the simplest emergency plans are the most effective. Always have extra sets of batteries for when power goes out and critical electronics need to be kept running. Important files should have a written backup somewhere in a safe and secure location like a safe or metal filing cabinet. Have a disaster supply kit handy that includes a battery-powered radio to access National Weather Service information, a battery-powered electronic device charger, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, flashlights, extra batteries, waterproof plastic bags and more. 

Although we can’t prevent man-made or natural disasters, business owners can take proactive measures to minimize disruption and reduce loss so you can return to normal operations as soon as possible.

Don Newman serves as director of small business advocacy for the Business Action Center, which serves as a “one-stop” shop for businesses, helping companies to stay and grow in New Jersey, as well as locate to the state. For information, call 1-866-534-7789 or visit

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Belmar/Lake Como

Health Alert: Child with Measles Traveled to Newark Airport on March 12

March 15, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — If you were at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, March 12 between 12:45 and 9 p.m., you may have been exposed to measles and should contact your health care provider.

The N.J. Department of Health has issued a public health alert after a child with a confirmed case of measles — a highly contagious disease — arrived in Terminal B at Newark Liberty ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, March 19, 7:00 PM

Belmar Municipal Building, Belmar

Belmar Planning Board


Tue, March 20, 6:00 PM

Belmar Municipal Building, Belmar

Belmar Mayor and Council Meeting


Tue, March 20, 6:30 PM

Belmar Arts Center, Belmar

Belmar Arts Center Writers Group


Tue, March 20, 7:30 PM

Lake Como Borough Hall, Lake Como

Lake Como Council Meeting


Wed, March 21, 9:30 AM

Lake Como Borough Hall, Lake Como

Lake Como Mommy and Me Play Date


Wed, March 21, 1:00 PM

Belmar Arts Center, Belmar

The Book Art Show at Belmar Arts Center


Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM


Belmar Zoning Board of Adjustment


Sat, March 24, 9:00 AM

Bar Anticipation, Lake Como

Kilt Run to Benefit the Belmar/Lake Como St.


Sat, March 24, 11:00 AM

Ale House Sports Bar and Grille, Brielle

Ales for Whales II to Benefit the Marine Mammal ...


Sat, March 24, 11:00 AM

Second, Third and Fourth Avenue Beaches

Belmar Easter Egg Hunt


Sat, March 24, 12:00 PM

Jake's Downtown, Belmar

Jake's Downtown Slider Saturdays


Sat, March 24, 1:00 PM

The Stone Pony, Asbury Park

Paint the Pony Purple to Benefit the Epilepsy ...

Building Meadow's Garden & Playground: A Father's Vision to Honor His Daughter

March 11, 2018

PARKLAND, FL — For Andrew Pollack, the loss of his daughter Meadow Pollack in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy has spurred him to focus his energies on improving school safety and build a playground to honor his daughter.

"I had a vision of, instead of going to the cemetery, I wanted to do something that Meadow would have liked to go to, Pollack said. "I had a vision of ...

Electronics: The Negative Impact on Literacy

March 6, 2018

To the Editor:

As speech-language pathologists across New Jersey prepare to mark National March into Literacy Month,  let’s address the alarming number of young children who spend countless hours a day on a handheld screen.

According to a study from the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, the more time that children under age 2 spend on smartphones, tablets and electronic ...

Belmar Firefighters Put Out Bedroom Fire in 16th Avenue Home, Rescue Trapped Dog

March 10, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Firefighters were successful yesterday, March 9, in containing a house fire at 205 16th Avenue to one bedroom, including rescuing a dog trapped in that room, according to Belmar Fire Marshal Ryan Dullea.

Because the door to the bedroom where the fire occurred was closed, the Belmar Fire Department was able to bring the blaze under control within 30 minutes after receiving ...