According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), overcoming natural disaster impact is a rough road for businesses.
The agency’s latest data indicates that 40 to 60 percent of businesses never reopen following a natural disaster. That number goes up to an astronomical 90 percent failure rate for companies that can’t reopen and resume operations within five days.
How can your business beat the odds if you happen to have a natural disaster strike?
The two businesses below have their own unique stories to share about overcoming natural disasters as well as tips to help any business survive and continue to thrive despite Mother Nature’s moods.
The Boathouse Marina – Freak Maritime Storm
When Bill Bowman bought the Boathouse Marina in 2013, he wanted to be the king of customer service for the boating community along the Virginia coast. Anything related to overcoming natural disaster was furthest from his mind.
Colonial Beach wasn’t an area prone to disasters, so he set his sights on improving the marina’s services. Between 2013 and 2017, Bowman oversaw improvements that included a new captain’s lounge, ship’s store, restrooms and showers, WiFi, laundry, and more.
No one on the Virginia coast was ready for the freak maritime storm that came along in April of 2017. Gusts of 70-75 miles per hour destroyed the marina, causing over $1 million in damage. Bowman’s facility went without power for six weeks. Yet today, he’s here to tell the tale of how he and the marina made it through.
The area had countless downed trees and powerlines, so there was a curfew instituted for safety. “We did as much as we could during the non-curfew hours, cleaning up debris ourselves even when equipment and clean-up vehicles could not access our site,” says Bowman. He also rented and purchased electric generators and got the marina back in business for their clientele within four days.
Today, the marina has rebuilt, and Bowman’s vision for the Virginia boating community has come through stronger than ever. Beyond the improvements he’s made after the storm, Bowman has a keen eye on how he and other businesses can prepare for a disaster, however unexpected.
Make a call list:
“Prepare a call list that includes anyone who can help you deal with whatever may happen.” (Insurance company, contractors, etc.)
Train your team:
“Be sure all staff is aware of the plan and prepared to participate.”
Prepare for self-sufficiency:
“Don’t rely solely on outside services to help you. If they can’t get to you, you need to be ready to help yourself.”