When you are a national small business, it is important to pay attention to the weather in order to plan accordingly for a potential national disasters like hurricanes, fires, floods, etc. I suggest that every entrepreneur quickly assess the following in detail:
- Assess the cashflow position of the business.
- Determine your customer’s current and potential future supply position.
- Make a decision to pre-position inventory at a cost to minimize shipping cost and to maximize a response.
- Consider the impact of Federal aide on customer demand.
- Look at your customer’s ability to pay after the disaster to see if the budget approval process favors an emergency response by your business.
- Check with your bank and assess your line of credit so you have the ability to pay your suppliers until your business gets paid.
- Anticipate a delay in repayment… it could be awhile.
- Figure out what the back-up lines of communications are going to be.
- Go over your insurance options for lost goods.
- Look at potential recovery times that could cause delays in many areas.
- Set priorities on what needs to be done vs what can be done.
- Assess your suppliers ability to support your request.
- Be realistic about response-delivery times.
- Do what is doable.
That last point was a lesson learned for me… “do what is doable.” A small business cannot afford to over extend itself responding to a national disaster because you might end up creating a disaster for your own business trying to meet the abnormal demands of our customer in a crisis situation. This is certainly true when you are hit with multiple natural disasters back to back. It’s a tough decision to make but it’s also business.
In my book EVIDENCE UNSEEN: Finding the Faith to Overcome, I share my story about how hurricanes Imra, Maria, and Harvey directly impacted our national small business. Houston and Puerto Rico were very important customers and we did respond the best we could. However, there were certainly many important business challenges that needed to be address.
Business can be complex at times; however, when national disaster happen and it hits your cashflow and your bottomline, an entrepreneur must make wise decisions for their own good considering multiple factors that all must be managed.