Our topic today is going to be the five thing to do in business when natural disaster strikes. I’m writing this about a week after Houston got trampled by a tremendous flood, which damaged many businesses and personal residences, not to mention property. Also, as I’ve lived in Houston for many years, I’m no stranger to all the rain and hurricanes here that affects our area greatly.
So if you’re reading this from the Houston area, you know exactly what I’m talking about. However, even if you live elsewhere in the United States and beyond, there are indeed natural disasters that happen in your community. I’m writing this specifically for those of you who are in the midst of a natural disaster, but not if you’ve had your business or home destroyed. In that case, my heart goes out to you, and I know you have a lot on your plate. I hope you get through it and that your life returns to normal as soon as possible.
For the rest of us who were not personally affected by the disaster, but feeling the effects nonetheless, here are five things to do in this situation:
1. During a natural disaster, sometimes you can’t really get to work, and your regular routine is disrupted. Be sure to use this time as an opportunity to catch up on planning. There usually won’t be a lot of distractions on the day of or the day after a natural disaster occurs, so consider this time a gift to make long-term plans. Once the unexpected opportunity passes and you get back into the hustle and bustle of daily life, you’ll likely put planning off to the wayside.
2. Take the time off, and spend it with family/friends. Use this as an opportunity to create memories with those you care about.
The point of numbers 1 and 2 is this: either be productive at home, or be productive at work. Avoid that in-between. A lot of times, people “kind of” work, and “kind of” spend time with family simultaneously. This type of multi-tasking often means that you’ll end up not getting much done with anyone or anything. Either be off or be on. Make a choice.
3. This is specific to business, but use the extra time as an opportunity to reach out to your past and current clients, prospects, referral sources, etc. Pick up the phone and just see how people are doing. It’s a great way to genuinely reach out. Go ahead and reconnect with those you haven’t spoken to in a while. You don’t have to view this as marketing, but good things happen when you connect with your network.
4. Consider ways this natural disaster can help your business, and take advantage of the opportunities that crop up. The most obvious example is if your business is at all related to fixing up homes, buildings, or vehicles. If you anticipate more work than you can handle coming in, maybe go for a quick, seasonal addition of workers to your team. Perhaps you can send out a marketing blast to let people who were affected know that you can help. Even if your business isn’t directly related to disaster management, you can still think about the many opportunities that arise during these challenging times.
5. Choose exactly what day you’re going to get back into your normal routine. It’s easy to sink into a disaster hangover or disaster slump of sorts, or make excuses for not getting back to work right away. Listen, decide on a day and stick to it. Make it happen. You know how when you get back from a vacation, it takes a little time to get going? Don’t allow that gap to happen. Get back to the routine. Get back to work. Get back to business. And don’t make excuses.
So those are the five things to think about when disaster strikes. Whether or not you’re in the midst of a natural disaster right now, either metaphorical or literal, go out and make it a better than amazing day.