Small Businesses and Flood Planning

There was an interesting survey done recently over at Vendio, the e-commerce specialist used by many small businesses and merchants.

They survey a group of 600 of their customers – as mentioned above, typically small business owners – to see whether they had considered how well their business might cope should it be hit by a natural disaster. They weren’t specific about what kind of disaster, but from our point of view, of course we will be most interested in floods and flooding.

If a property – be it a residential house or business premises – is hit by severe flooding, it could well be uninhabitable for several weeks if not months. Buildings take a long time to dry out fully. If the flood was severe enough, it could well have resulted in raw sewage escaping from the sewage system and into the building. Doors, windows and plaster may need replacing, and possibly more fundamental building work, such as brick walls.

Furthermore, items inside the building are likely to need replacing. Things such as furniture and carpets, for example.

All of the above would apply equally to a home as much as a business. But for small businesses there are other considerations when it comes to flood protection.

Stock, for example, if the business is a retail or wholesale merchant, may well be ruined. Electrical goods such as computers, printers, scanners and even telephones, will also be unusable should they be immersed in flood water. Losing a computer may well mean losing essential (if not critical) data and documents, such as tax and accounts, customer contact details and inventory data.

So how well were these small business prepared for the event of flooding?

74% responded stating they have no recovery plan at all

This makes pretty uncomfortable reading. Even just a plan to move a few critical items (stock, computers) above ground level would help prevent a great deal of suffering.

84% didn’t have natural disaster insurance

We assume this includes flood insurance. As mentioned in other posts on insurance, when a flood hits, there can be a lot of costs you haven’t considered before, such as alternative temporary accommodation, legal fees, clear up costs, architects fees and of course builders fees.

30% said their business information is stored in the cloud

Cloud computing – essential off-sire data storage – is essential for any small business, but in particular those at risk of flooding or other natural disasters. It’s not expensive and there are plenty of providers out there. So why aren’t the remaining 70% using it?

62% said they can run their business from a mobile device

On the brighter side, we aren’t all tied to our land based Internet connections any more. Should disaster hit, small businesses have options when it comes to communication.

In summary, small businesses, especially those in areas prone to natural disasters such as flooding, really need to plan ahead. There are a few simple things a business can do to make life so much easier after the event.

  • Make a protection plan – at the very least move critical items and computers above ground level
  • Consider insurance – especially to cover those unforeseen costs
  • Off site Data Back-Up – use cloud computing services to store data

For a more comprehensive look at natural disaster planning for businesses, see the article by

Survey Source: Vendio (PDF Doc)

3 thoughts on “Small Businesses and Flood Planning

  1. Moving critical items above ground level may help to protect from flooding, but not for things like storms, hurricanes and earth quakes. I know this site is about floods, but just wanted to point out 🙂

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