Business & Finance

Guest Column

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


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% of small businesses never re-open 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’ 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. 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.


The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for 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:

Sign Up for E-News


Union County, N.J. Horse Farm Quarantined, 1st Case of EHM In State In '18

March 17, 2018

TRENTON, N.J. – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has quarantined a property in Union County after a horse developed the highly infectious equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM). EHM is the often deadly neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) infection. No recent movement had occurred at the index property prior to this case. 

The horse has been moved into the ...

Unity and purpose will allow Democrats to unseat Lance

March 11, 2018

In November, we have a chance to unseat Leonard Lance, Congressman for the NJ-7 district which includes Springfield. Leonard Lance voted to take away healthcare from his constituents and recently stood by as his party passed a tax plan in which his district became the second most negatively impacted district in the COUNTRY.  Lance is an enemy of a woman’s right to control her body but ...

Rutgers voices support for proposed state budget

March 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University officials have often been wary of the governor's annual budget message, wondering what type of budget cuts the university may sustain and how it would potentially impact tuition and the overall quality of education.

This budget message, delivered March 13, appears to be a sigh of relief.

Pete McDonough, Vice President of External Affairs at ...

Union County's March For Our Lives - County Wide March Planned

March 17, 2018

March 24 at 10 a.m. Students of Union County will march to make sure that our schools are safe. The march will start at Burnet Middle School (1000 Caldwell Avenue, Union). It will end at the Union Township City Council Offices (1976 Morris Avenue, Union). All looking to protect American children by strengthening our laws and stand with the victims of all shootings inside places of education, are ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, March 18, 11:00 AM

The Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary , Short Hills

March Guided Hike at the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Sun, March 18, 11:00 AM

The Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, Short Hills

March Guided Hike at the Cora Hartshorn ...

Education Green

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Maplewood Strollers Present John Patrick ...

Arts & Entertainment