Guest Column

7 Ways New Jersey Business Owners Can Plan Ahead for Hurricane Season

ada7a5066ad4ef6945a0_Newman_Photo_credit_Jim_Alcon.jpg
ada7a5066ad4ef6945a0_Newman_Photo_credit_Jim_Alcon.jpg

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling for an above average hurricane season in 2017. Five tropical storms have already developed this year, including Tropical Storm Emily, which damaged businesses in Florida.

As the height of hurricane season approaches, 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 on-site 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 cyber security 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’s status. 

4.  Make sure your insurance is current:  Review your commercial insurance coverage with an agent or your insurance center. Specifically, check 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. Backup 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.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - January 22, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

AT THE DINER - Don't expect anyone to rush to refill your coffee cup,as a proposed federal rule would allow employers to take their employees' tips, if workers are paid at least minimum wage. It seems cruel to strip money from workers at the low end of the pay scale, but, hey, this is Trump World.  The Economic Policy Institute (which has a very ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 19, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

STATEWIDE - New Jersey Republicans are not crazy. That's the key message, as state GOP members plan to barnstorm the state to connect with local leaders, in an effort to create a wide gap from President Trump. Republicans in the post-Christie era find themselves struggling for relevancy and identity, sandwiched between a Trump presidency that hates ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 18, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

STATEWIDE – The state has found a new, innovative way for you to wait on a line, unveiling a pair of mobile MVC offices. It is all about getting those friendly folks at the Motor Vehicle Commission to serve you even better, without the need for you to visit one of those dreadful offices and join various lines of equally-bored wannabe motorists. State ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 16, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

TRENTON - Red-blooded New Jerseyans, in their respectable Republican cloth coats, have been dreading today. An actual breathing liberal, once again, takes over the governor's office and ruins everything. It was eight strong years of solid conservative stewardship, they think, as they trudge up the stairs of the War Memorial in Trenton, scuffing their ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 12, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

YOUR BACKYARD - If we don't kill our bears, their children and grandchildren will be living in your backyard. That is one way to summarize a 12-page report from state wildlife officials, claiming that Gov.-elect Phil Murphy's plan to stop the bear hunts could cause their population to double by 2022, NJ.com reports. Murphy wants to ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 11, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

UP THE CREEK - New Jersey has a weaker tax base, higher taxes and simmering fury amongst taxpayers. It is a recipe for financial trouble, reports The Wall Street Journal, noting it has been more than 20 years since New Jersey was current on its pension payments, leaving the state nearly $100 billion in the hole. And while ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_f91ed86077ea29dfd56e_image

Tue, January 23

Plainsboro

Project Feeder Watch

Green Home & Garden

Carousel_image_f91ed86077ea29dfd56e_image

Wed, January 24

Plainsboro

Project Feeder Watch

Green Home & Garden

Wed, January 24, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

The Illusionists

Arts & Entertainment

Lower Tuition Under Murphy? Not So Fast, Rutgers Pres. Says

January 22, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Gov. Phil Murphy, following his inauguration last week, ​ticked off a list of lofty goals and​ progressive​ proposals for the state. 

Yet allies and opponents have shown skepticism, or at least questioned, his vision for New Jersey

Rutgers President Robert Barchi made himself no exception, during ​a start-of-the-semester kick-off address at the Rutgers ...

Rutgers Historians Collecting 2018 Women's March Signs

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Believe it or not, we’re living through history right now. That’s why the Rutgers University Libraries want to collect artifacts and memorabilia from the present day.

If you took part in yesterday's women's march in Morristown, or one of the "sister" marches across the state, you should consider donating your signs and protest memorabilia ...

Rutgers Equestrian Team Coach Elected As IHSA Second Vice President

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) held their annual board meeting in Orlando, Florida, Jan. 3-6. The 55-member board met in general session and in individual committees during the three-day event.

Kelly Francfort Named Second Vice President

Kelly Francfort, coach of the Rutgers team, chair of IHSA Zone 3 and the public relations committee, was named ...

OPINION

Letter to the Editor: Proposed Medicaid Cuts Threaten Families

January 5, 2018

Medicaid – the safety next for millions of Americans – continues to be under attack.

Whether debating healthcare legislation, tax reform or deficit reduction, lawmakers see Medicaid as some magic source of ready-made cost savings. Many don’t seem to understand how intertwined Medicaid is within society; a lifeline for so many families – like mine.

I am the parent of ...

Four New Officers Join the Ranks of the New Brunswick Police Department

January 23, 2018

The New Brunswick Police Department welcomed four new officers to its ranks during a Jan. 22 swearing-in ceremony at City Hall.

Officers Josh Chatterjee, Jeffrey Drozd, Carley Pilkington and Jeffrey Reyes graduated from the Cape May County Police Academy following 21 weeks of intensive training.

They will begin their assignments with the department this week.

Get Off the Couch. Walk the Dog. Live Longer.

January 15, 2018

“Sitting is the new smoking”. This is the new mantra in cardiology and global population health. Sitting, or a sedentary lifestyle, has long been known as a risk factor for the development of heart disease.

Excessive sitting is also associated with a higher mortality rate. Is sitting really as bad as smoking for your health? Why is sitting so detrimental? What strategies can combat ...