The relationships between a business and its customers and suppliers are critical. You can take steps now to strengthen and preserve those relationships when disaster strikes.

  • Make a list of your major customers and suppliers. Include contact information, goods or services provided, methods of delivery, and how often you do business with them. Note if they are located in areas that are vulnerable to common hazards, like hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfire, or tornadoes, or if they are located in the floodplain.

  • Make contact with your most important customers and vendors to talk about business continuity planning. Having your own business continuity plan (like the one you are developing through Do 1 Thing Business) can be a selling point for your business.

  • After a disaster, be visible to your customers. Contact them and let them know what your recovery timeline is. Make sure they have a way to contact you if they have questions or concerns. Make sure you communicate your progress and your successes during recovery. Place updates on your website. If you have a neighborhood business post signs in your window letting customers know your status and update them often. If you have a message on your phone, update that often as well. Updating often keeps you visible to your customers.

  • Social media can be a great way to keep vendors and customers informed about what you are doing after a disaster. If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, or if you routinely use another form of social media, make sure that you are promoting it to your customers and vendors. Maintaining those relationships can be critical after a disaster.