Every hurricane season I find myself saying the same thing, “Gee, I really need to prep my business in case of extreme weather.” As I am writing this, Houston is recovering from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma may be making her way to my city.
Extreme weather is a circumstance beyond our control that can take us for a loop in our businesses. And sometimes, the weather doesn’t even have to be that extreme. Sometimes a bad thunder storm will knock out the internet connection in no time.
As business owners, we need to be prepared for when these things happen. Here are some tips based on lessons learned the hard way.
Get paid online.
Do you want to know what sucks? Not getting checks in the mail because a hurricane as halted USPS service. For this reason (among many others) I try to make sure as many clients as possible pay me online.
There are several services out there that will allow you to safely accept credit cards and ACH transfers. Additionally, you can set up automatic invoicing and follow ups that continue working even if you are unavailable.
Create multiple streams of income.
I initially started creating multiple streams of income because I didn’t want to be left without a job and broke. Well, it turns out this is also good for extreme weather conditions.
There was a time last year when it was suspected that South Florida may get hit by a hurricane. I’d already planned not to work in anticipation of extreme weather. I made money in affiliate sales through my blog even though I wasn’t working. That helped make up for the couple of days I was losing because of the storm. (Luckily, that storm didn’t hit my area.)
Move your business online.
Even though I was only four years old, I remember Hurricane Andrew. I also remember how many businesses lost important documentation due to their offices being destroyed.
Of course, this was back before we had cloud systems and online tools. That being said, if you haven’t already transferred most of your business online, do it. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that if extreme weather hits that you still have everything you need.
Always have savings.
It’s always important to have emergency savings regardless of whether you have a business or not. However, I often argue that business owners need more of a cash cushion because the income is variable.
If extreme weather means you can’t work for a few days, you’re probably making less money that month. This means you might need savings to ride things out until they get back to normal.
Always have a backup.
After hurricanes, it can be difficult to get power back in residential areas in a timely manner. This is why business owners need back ups mapped out. Whether it’s a coffee shop or a freelancer co-working space, have a backup place where you can work as soon as the roads clear.
There are plenty of things in life that are out of our control. Extreme weather just happens to be one of them. Make sure to use these tips to prepare your business for when extreme weather strikes.