By Hope Belli Tinney, Washington Small Business Development Center
SPOKANE, Wash. – Having a disaster plan for your business can mean the difference between taking a hit or being dealt a knockout blow.
September is National Preparedness Month and various agencies have tips, toolkits and checklists to help business owners prepare for fires, floods, earthquakes or other disasters that cause a disruption of operations.
“Even simple steps can make a big difference,” said Duane Fladland, state director of the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC). According to Fladland, about 25 percent of businesses affected by a major disaster cannot recover and are forced to close.
“Business owners can’t always protect their physical property from a flood or fire, but they should definitely have systems in place to protect their financial records, customer data and other critical information,” he said. “Helping business owners create a disaster plan is a high priority for SBDC advisors.”
“There are great resources online for what to do before, during and after a major disaster,” Fladland said. “SBDC advisors can help point people in the right direction and they can also meet with business owners to discuss special considerations or concerns.”
The Washington SBDC is a network of more than two dozen certified SBDC business advisors working in communities across the state to provide no-cost, confidential, one-on-one business advising to small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to start, grow or transition a business.
SBDC services are available to business owners across the state, either in face-to-face meetings in one of 20 communities on both sides of the Cascades, or via phone or video conferences.
The Washington SBDC is a program of the U.S. Small Business Administration and is hosted by Washington State University. SBDC services are funded by the SBA, WSU and other institutions of higher education and economic development.
National Preparedness Month has several partner agencies or organizations, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and www.ready.gov. The disaster preparedness website for the SBA is here.
For more about the Washington SBDC, click here.