For this blog about Hurricane Season preparedness, we thought it would make sense to get some business continuity tips from a real expert — a business owner who survived multiple disasters.
Three Brothers Bakery, a 69-year-old business owned by Janice and Robert Jucker, suffered losses of around $1 million after Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston last August. In 2008, the destruction caused by Hurricane Ike forced the couple to close the bakery for nine months. They lost $1 million after that storm.
Since 2001, the bakery has survived four floods, a hurricane and a fire. Calling herself “the Queen of Disasters,” Janice says she has learned a lot over the years about how to protect their business and recover more quickly after each event. The Juckers received the SBA’s 2018 Phoenix Award for Outstanding Disaster Recovery.
Here are some useful business continuity tips from Janice Jucker:
- Review your hazard and flood coverage NOW. If you don’t have flood coverage, which is not covered by hazard insurance, contact the National Flood Insurance Program to purchase flood insurance. There is a 30-day waiting period after you make the first premium payment, so just hope you don’t get hit by a flood storm before the policy is effective.
- Make sure you have access to your insurance policy information, especially policy numbers. Keep handy phone numbers for your insurance agent and the claims department.
- Find a good restoration company — the team who’ll help you clean up the mess so you can focus on the task of reopening your business — and save their number in your cell phone.
- Maintain an updated list of all your employees’ contact numbers and email addresses. You’ll want to make sure your team is safe and kept in the loop about the recovery progress.
- Obtain a line of credit or have enough cash to run your business for at least three months.
- Move your important business records, personal memorabilia and anything that’s irreplaceable to an offsite location. Save as much as you possibly can to the cloud.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017, the SBA approved more than 132,000 low-interest disaster loans for a total of $6.8 billion. While the SBA will always be ready to assist businesses, homeowners and renters after a declared disaster, having a preparedness plan in place will go a long way toward keeping your organization intact while supporting the long-term recovery of your community.
Disaster preparedness resources:
Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety — Tips on how to create your own business continuity plan, how to rebuild stronger, and an interactive disaster hazard map
Ready.Gov — Preparedness tips for risks including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes cyber-attacks and active shooters