WHEN THE UNEXPECTED STRIKES: BUSINESS RECOVERY AFTER DISASTER STRIKES
Although unpleasant to think about, the chance that a natural disaster may strike your region is always a possibility. Any sort of situation from a flood, wind damage or a fire can have devastating results for business owners ranging from lost files and merchandise to destroyed equipment. There is, of course, no way to fend off these occurrences, but there are steps that business owners can take to maximize their recovery ability and be able to open back up for business as fast as possible.
- Determine the type of disasters most likely to affect your business. There may be specific risks to your business based on the weather pattern of your region or even your location in a specific city. By becoming knowledgeable on issues that are more likely to affect you, you can engage in more effective planning in the event these disasters can occur.
- Understand your insurance coverage. Speak with your insurance representative and be sure you understand which risks are covered and which are not. Inquire as to additional policies that may be purchased for disasters most likely to occur in your area and look into compensation for lost income and operating expenses during your business recovery period.
- Examine possible ways to prevent hazards and reduce risk. Take care to store your most important records, equipment or merchandise in a manner that they will be least likely to be damaged or destroyed in the event of a disaster.
- Prepare a disaster recovery plan. In the event that the worst does occur, have a plan in place to get your business back up and running with as little interruption as possible.
There are also many resources available to business owners for help in recovering their loss and being able to re-open their doors if disaster strikes. Small business owners in New York can contact the NYS Small Business Development Center for assistance in re-creating lost and destroyed records and applying for disaster loans at www.nyssbdc.org. The U.S. Small Business Administration has programs and information for disaster planning and recovery available on their website at www.sba.gov.
FORECLOSURE FILINGS CONTINUE TO DECLINE
September 2012 marked the month of the fewest foreclosure filings in the past five years. Foreclosure filings peaked in April of 2009 but the rate has been on the decline in the past several months. The foreclosure filing rate for September 2012 reflects a 7% drop since August 2012 and an overall 16% drop since September of 2011.
This decline, however, has had one unfortunate side effect for potential home buyers. Deeply discounted foreclosure homes are becoming more and more of a rarity. This has caused a rise in the average of purchase price of homes; there has been a 17% increase in the median price for new homes and 9.5% increase for the median price of existing homes since August 2011.
GOING GREEN CAN INCREASE PROFITS FOR BUSINESSES.
The idea of going green can be somewhat intimidating to businesses. Whether it is the idea of a pricey investment in technological updates or the time it will take to train employees in the new manner in which business is to be conducted, and thereby possibly resulting in lower productivity during that training period, there are many reasons which cause businesses to be hesitant to take the plunge. Once the initial investment of time and money has been expended, however, there are many aspects of going green that can have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line.
The most obvious manner in which going green can help increase profits is by spending less money on certain business supplies. Switching to a primarily electronic means of communication and record keeping can save money on paper, postage and filing materials. Even small actions such as switching to low-energy light bulbs or reducing the use of gas for heat or air conditioning can have a huge impact on operating expenses for larger companies.
There are additional advantages to businesses that go green that are less obvious but no less effective when it comes to increasing profits. First, going green can have a dramatic impact on a company’s reputation, attracting clients and business contacts that may have otherwise gone in another direction. There are also tax benefits available to businesses that engage in certain green practices such as using solar power or purchasing hybrid vehicles for employees.
There is no question that making changes to go green is a significant undertaking and businesses attempting to do so should have a comprehensive understanding of the time and money that such an endeavor will require. Despite the initial cost, companies that fully examine all the benefits can see that going green has the potential to really pay off in the long run
Prepared by Katie L. Renda