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A map view of a hurricane formation crossing onto land
Allen M. Thomas, regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, shares valuable tips and recovery funding to prepare small businesses  for hurricane season. Photo by Nasa on Unsplash 

Hurricane Season Tips and Recovery Funding Programs from the Small Business Administration

As we enter hurricane season, it is crucial to be ready and aware of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s recovery funding programs. The Southeast region, with its stunning coastlines and thriving small businesses, is particularly vulnerable to these natural disasters. Even inland areas can experience the destructive effects of hurricanes through high winds and flooding. Small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy, often find themselves on the brink of closure if they are not adequately prepared. To mitigate the risks associated with hurricanes, the SBA offers assistance to business owners in safeguarding their homes and businesses.

With the official start of hurricane season on June 1, it’s important to note that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted a near-normal forecast for the 2023 season, but it only takes one storm to cause catastrophic damages. This forecast includes a range of 12 to 17 named storms, with five to nine of them potentially becoming hurricanes, including one to four major hurricanes. Businesses can suffer a wide range of impacts from these weather catastrophes, ranging from short-term power outages to the need for complete physical rebuilding after a hurricane.

The first crucial step in storm preparation is to ensure that you are document-ready. Ask yourself if you are aware of the necessary documents required for insurance claims or recovery programs. Ensure your documents are securely stored, either in a digital format that you can access online or in a weatherproof location. It is also essential to keep your documents up to date. To be eligible for an SBA disaster loan, business owners must have several legal documents in place, including deeds, leases, insurance records, trusts, court orders and tax returns. Keep these documents readily available and consider storing them digitally whenever possible.

first aid kit opened up (SBA)
“It is crucial for businesses to have a comprehensive plan in place for when a disaster strikes,” Allen M. Thomas writes. “Whether it’s a hurricane or another type of natural disaster like wind, flood, wildfire, earthquake, or hail damage, having an emergency response plan is imperative.” Photo by Matt Napo on Unsplash

Additionally, maintain up-to-date contact information for your insurance company, employees, customers and suppliers. Keep key information on inventory, machinery/equipment, financial systems, and accounts receivable/payable current. Having this information readily available can make a significant difference in securing funding quickly, potentially within days rather than months.

The SBA offers various programs to assist businesses with recovery after a natural disaster. These programs encompass financing options for repairing physical damages to businesses and residences, working capital to cover normal business expenses, mitigation assistance, and military deployment of staff support for shortages. 

In addition to understanding available resources, it is crucial for businesses to have a comprehensive plan in place for when a disaster strikes. Whether it’s a hurricane or another type of natural disaster like wind, flood, wildfire, earthquake, or hail damage, having an emergency response plan is imperative. 

Local resource partners such as the Small Business Development Center Network, SCORE, Women’s Business Centers, and the Veterans Business Outreach Centers also offer additional training and technical assistance related to disaster preparedness. Many district offices host webinars or training sessions on this topic. Take advantage of these opportunities whenever they are available.

As we head into the summer of 2023, I wish you all a wonderful season. While we cannot control the weather, we can certainly impact our preparedness and contingency plans to ensure peace of mind and enjoy this great time of year. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your state office or the Office of Disaster Recovery. Also, click here for valuable information and guidance on getting summer ready.

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