Post-disaster decision making isn’t limited to whether to reopen or relocate to a new site. You may be faced with the decision of whether or not to reopen at all. The Natural Hazards Research Center describes disaster decisions as being made in an “emotional, reactionary, time-sensitive, expensive, and politically charged atmosphere...based upon incomplete information, disproportionate needs, and the worst working conditions imaginable.” (Holistic Disaster Recovery, 2001)

For a small business, “survival” must be defined as the financial survival of the business owner.

Survival does not necessarily mean:

  • Continuing in the same line of business, or staying in any business at all
  • Staying at the same location
  • Serving the same customers

After a serious disaster, it usually takes the same level of commitment and energy to revitalize a business as it did to start it.

Think now about what you might do if your business was closed by disaster:

  • Operate the same business
  • Open a new business
  • Enter a new occupation, or
  • Retire

Do you still have what it takes to do it again? Are you and your family in good health? Has the disaster caused you severe stress? Is stress affecting your decision-making?

The more vital assets you lose in a disaster, the harder it will be to get back up and running after a disaster.