On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation about what local businesses can do to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.
June 1 marks the beginning of a very busy hurricane season with 16 predicted named storms and 9 hurricanes. Many businesses are unprepared whether they face physical damage, economic injury or both.
James Evans, Director of the University of Houston’s Hurricane Business Recovery Center (a specialty center of UH Small Business Development Center Network), stopped by Bauer Business Focus recently to discuss how small businesses can better prepare themselves to withstand a natural disaster.
“I had been through a couple of [hurricanes] living in Bryan, TX, but never had first-hand experience with the aftermath of a hurricane like I did with Hurricane Ike,” Evans said. “I mean, to go into Galveston and look at the destruction that 10 feet of water can do to a business, it was totally something new I had never seen before.”
Many small businesses wait until the storm is within hours of making landfall before they start to make preparations, which most times only include boarding up the doors and leaving, Evans added.
The University of Houston Hurricane Business Recovery Center will be holding a conference May 26 in Galveston with a series of workshops to teach businesses how to better prepare for a hurricane and what you need to have done before the storm happens. (Click here for more information.)
“What’s important to me is if they have good records. Back up your financial statements, your tax returns, put those on a flash drive or a portable modem, and carry those with you. The other thing that is really critical is that having been in business for a while you know how much cash you run through in a week or maybe a two week period.”
Business owners should always get enough operating cash to help function for a two-week period to purchase supplies, he added.
No matter how many preparations businesses can make, there are many uncertainties that follow, but Evans is confident that residents and small business owners can overcome anything.
“The most striking thing is the resilience that small business owners have. To visit those companies in six months after the hurricane and to go back and visit them after a year, it’s simply amazing how small business owners have that fortitude to really come back and get their businesses up and going, it’s simply amazing.”
Click here to hear the full interview.