With all the news coverage about natural disasters recently, I got to thinking – what would happen to my home-based business if my home was destroyed in a fire or my family had to be evacuated for some reason?  Is my business prepared?  Truth is, right now there are some gaps that would definitely affect my income.

So I contacted my friend and colleague Tiffany Johnson, CEO of Virtual Hired Hand, for some advice.  Tiffany works with entrepreneurs and small companies by supporting them in their tasks related to websites, WordPress blogs, teleclasses, eNewsletters, and so much more.  Recently she wrote the following article discussing just that topic I was thinking about – some simple ideas of how to protect your home based business in case of a disaster.  I thought of how many of us are running businesses for our homes, and how important these tips are for all of us to ensure our businesses, and therefore incomes, will be protected should some calamity occur.

Some of these things I haven’t done yet, but with all this crazy weather, I’m going to get on it!  I’ll be writing more about this topic over the summer, with reviews of various tools and products, but for now, these basics will take you a long ways in prepping your business for the possibility of disaster.

4 Tips To Prepare Your Business for a Natural Disaster

by Tiffany Johnson, Virtual Hired Hand

Have you taken the time to ask yourself, “What would I do if a major disaster occurred where I live?”

A few months ago, North Carolina was hit with fatal tornadoes. This is completely out of the norm for us. If anything we have hurricanes. A good friend of mine, her family was affected by the storm. While no one got hurt, they were forced to leave their homes and are still waiting to move back in.

During our conversation my friend gave me some really good advice. She said you should have copies of your important papers in a waterproof bag, like a ziplock bag, and keep it somewhere that you can get to easily. If disaster strikes, you can grab your bag of important papers along with your other items before heading out of the house. You’ll have enough stress if something happens. And as moms always say, “Better safe than sorry!”

Are you prepared if this happened where you live?

Imagine, you’ve got 10 minutes to get your most important things out of the house. If everyone, including your pets, were safe, what would you grab?

What about your business? Would it be on hold for days until you could get back into your home or could it continue without you?

The answer depends on the type of business you have. For most, your business would not be able to run without you. It’s important to put systems in place, so in the event something happens, all is not lost.

What can you do now to prepare in advance for a natural disaster?

  1. If you have been holding off selling your products on your website, now would be a good time to start. Set up a system that does not depend on an actual person every step of the way. If a product is purchased setup delivery and follow-up to occur automatically.
  2. If you are a freelancer and provide a service, form a network with other freelancers who provide a similar service. Design a contingency plan specific to your group in case of emergency. This way you’ll have someone to call on and your business will not suffer as a result. You’ll definitely want to find someone you trust who won’t just up and run with your clients of course.
  3. Use systems that allow you to access your email, computer files, and passwords from any computer. You never know if your main computer will be up and running if a natural disaster occurs. Back up your computer using something like Mozy or Carbonite and store your passwords using Roboform or something similar.
  4. Send messages and announcements on Facebook and Twitter. Let’s say you had a training or event scheduled at the time of the natural disaster, social media is the fastest and easiest way to inform everyone. Those who follow you can let others know.  In addition to social media, email your list and let them know as well. If you are not currently capturing names and emails separate from social media, it’s time you do so. To email your list AWeber is a great service as they are reliable and offer a high delivery rate.

These are just a few recommendations to assist in getting your home business prepared in advance in the event a natural disaster occurs.

Tiffany JohnsonTiffany Johnson is the visionary and CEO behind Virtual Hired Hand. She works hard to make things simple for the average business owner and freelancer when it comes to websites, WordPress blogs, teleclasses, eNewsletters, and anything you do online virtually. As a special gift to our readers she is giving away this free report: 3 Quick Tips: A Pocket Guide On Setting Up Your First Website.  Just click here to download.

Victoria Gazeley
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