5 tips to help your business recover from disaster

For the thousands of businesses affected by devastating floods in Queensland and Victoria, as the physical cleanup is completed they now need to plan their business recovery.

Vantage Performance Managing director Michael Fingland told us that overwhelmed business owners should focus initially on a 5 point business recovery strategy:

1) Lodge a claim with your insurer.

Many people are confused as to whether they’re covered or not in a crisis such as this. “Don’t assume – the best way to ensure you are assessed is to lodge a claim with the insurer,” Mr Fingland said.  An assessor will be assigned to inspect property and contents/stock. They may also provide relevant safety advice for re-entering the property and when to resume trading.

If you have not been contacted by your broker, call them immediately as they will need to be liaising with the insurer regarding your claim.

2) Forecast short term cash flow

Cash flow forecasts should be a key management tool in any business, but in disaster situations they are critical.  Preparing 13 or 26 week cash flow forecasts under both best- and worse-case scenarios will help quantify flood impact on your business and highlight periods of cash shortage in time for you to implement a strategy to mitigate these shortages.

A basic cash flow forecast will take a few hours to create and can be prepared on an Excel worksheet.  If you don’t have computer access, ask family, friends or colleagues.

“The flood devastation brought out the best in people and so many are eager to help those affected,” Mr Fingland said.

If you’re unsure how to prepare a cash flow forecast, use this blog link How To Create A Cash Flow Forecast which gives a step-by-step guide.

3) Prepare a 100 day work plan.

This detailed plan clearly defines and prioritises what actions need to be taken, by whom and when. It will provide a solid basis for the rebuilding process – and a measure of your achievements. If you’re unsure how to design a work plan please use this 100 Day Work Plan as a guide.

“At this stage of the rebuilding process, every day is critical so make sure you review and update the plan every morning,” Mr Fingland said.

4) Communicate with your staff

They’ll be concerned about their continued employment so communication is essential. Communication should be timely, relevant and clear, and cover both business and personal issues. “Check whether your staff have been personally affected by the floods and be compassionate,” he said.

“When it comes to your business, tell them what impact there is on the business, outline your 100 day work plan, identifying their roles within it and take any questions they may have.

“Finally, promise to keep them well informed and identify the point of contact in the business for anyone with concerns.”

5) Contact and update your financiers

Providing your financiers with regular updates, including your cash flow forecasts and 100 day work plan, will reassure them that you are taking a rational and organised approach to the rebuilding process, Mr Fingland said.

“Financiers are adopting a compassionate approach to flood impacted businesses and will appreciate your proactive approach to keeping them informed,” he said.

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