There are five major variables that affect your business’ chances of resuming operations after a disaster:

  • Effects On Customers: Businesses whose customers are severely impacted by disaster are less likely to survive. This is particularly true when the product or service the business provides is a not a necessity or can be postponed. Customers who are displaced by the disaster may not move back to the same location. Having multiple locations or a geographically diverse customer base increases your business’ chance of survival.

  • Available Substitutes: If substitutes for your product or services are readily available, you may have trouble winning customers back when your business reopens. The longer you are closed, the harder it will be. Specialized products or services increase your business’ chance of survival.

  • Industry Innovation: A business that was competitive before the disaster has a better chance of recovering afterward. Finding ways to be competitive now increases your business’ chance of survival after a disaster.

  • Loss Of Vital Resources: Specialized machinery or equipment may be hard to replace if damaged in a disaster. Suppliers and transportation companies may also be affected. The more you rely on a single supplier, the harder it will be for your business to recover. Employees may be impacted by the disaster. They may be reluctant, or unable, to return to work if their homes are damaged or their families are affected. Employees displaced by the disaster may not move back. Other vital resources include inventory, production time, and facilities. Identifying alternatives to key resources ahead of time increases your business’ chance of survival.

  • Owner Response To New Environment: This is the most important factor in whether or not a business will recover after a disaster. A business owner who recognizes the changes in the post-disaster market and can adjust to them is more likely to survive a disaster. Creating contingency plans increases your business’ chance of survival.

Disasters change things. Communities and businesses are never exactly the same after a major disaster. Recovery may not mean a return to business as usual. The goal is to have an organization that is financially viable in the post-disaster environment.