Hurricane Idalia is expected to make landfall on Wednesday, August 30, 2023. The storm, characterized by increasingly powerful winds and an alarmingly severe storm surge, currently sits as a Category 3 Florida hurricane.
The main concern for health and safety is rising water from storm surges, which is expected to reach 12 feet in some coastal locations. The National Guard is standing by, and officials have ordered residents to evacuate 22 counties in preparation for the landfall.
Hurricane Idalia will undoubtedly interrupt commerce, but it won’t stay stagnant for long. Business owners will return to their local communities to repair damage and pick up the pieces, but what’s the best way for them to go about this?
Continue reading for important information about returning to normal business operations after a hurricane or other inclement weather.
How Will Hurricane Idalia Affect Business?
Inclement weather forces businesses to temporarily close their doors. People displaced by evacuation orders will need to return once the dust settles, but even then, there’s a chance that businesses and office spaces will suffer immense property damage that delay their reopening even further.
Fallen trees, broken power lines, and water damage all create an environment that isn’t safe for workers and shoppers alike. The community will need to recover from the damage before businesses can start to look and operate like their old selves.
It’s unknown how long Hurricane Idalia will affect Florida and coastal business, but it likely won’t be a one-day thing, especially in areas surrounding where the storm makes landfall.
How Can Businesses Protect Themselves From Hurricane Damage?
Protecting your business from storm damage is a matter of being proactive. If weather reports signal an impending storm, here are a few checklist items to accomplish before you and your family evacuate the area.
- Establish Clear Communication Channels – For both consumers and your workers, it’s important to develop a communication plan and set it in place before the storm hits. This can be as simple as telling your employees that you’ll send a message in your group text when it’s safe to return to work, but it can get more complicated with bigger businesses. Additionally, if you have social media, post a message advising consumers that you’ll be closed until the storm is over and that you’ll update your social media channels when you’re ready and able to get back to work.
- Seek Out Alternate Suppliers – Everyone understands how important the supply chain is after the complications of the pandemic. Still, something like a hurricane can cause disruptions that prevent you from operating at full capacity despite your repair efforts. It’s important to seek out alternate suppliers that use different methods of transportation or are in a different location to ensure you’re able to bounce back as soon as possible.
- Learn Your Emergency Response Timeline – Bigger storms require more of a recovery effort, but even minor storms can delay your reopening for longer than you’d like. If you’re unfamiliar with your jurisdiction’s emergency response process, it’s a good idea to learn about it and ask questions ahead of time. This can help you understand when electricity, internet services, and unrestricted travel will return.
- Double-Check Your Insurance Coverage – You buy insurance for a reason. Now that it’s time to use it, you’ll want to make sure you’re covered. Check into your contract and find what damages are eligible for recovery, and make sure to ask questions if you find something amiss. For example, some people believe they’re covered against flood damage until they file a claim and discover it wasn’t part of their policy.
- Have a Contractor On Speed Dial – Contractors, roofers, and other repair businesses are essential after an inclement weather event. Their service will directly contribute to affected communities’ ability to get back on their feet. As you can guess, they’ll be busy, so make sure you give your contractor a call as soon as you know you need them.
- Form a Financing Relationship – Debt isn’t a bad thing, especially when you use the money to invest in your business’s ability to turn a profit. Although taking on a loan when you’re inoperational may seem like a bad idea, it can be the difference between reopening your doors and not. explore your options beforehand to know what’s available. form a long-term relationship with a lending partner because they can help you take advantage of opportunities post-recovery.
What Should Businesses Do After Hurricane Idalia Passes?
First and foremost, ensure that it’s safe for you, your family, and your workers to return to your location. Check with your local government to determine this timeline.
Once you’re back on site, here are a few things to look out for:
- Water Damage – Was your business affected by flooding? If so, remove wet carpet, throw out damaged inventory, and check for water damage on wood/metal surfaces.
- Electrical Hazards – Do not turn the lights on as you return to your business. There may be a wiring hazard created by the storm that can cause significant bodily harm if you’re not careful. Call a professional, and let them handle the situation.
- Property Damage – Falling objects could have damaged your property and created an unsafe environment for staff and visitors. If you notice signs of structural damage, make sure to take pictures, videos, and move anyone nearby to a safe location.
All of the above can prevent you from getting back to business. Call your contractor, keep a copy of the receipt, and keep your team up to date on the latest happenings.
Which Business Financing Options Can Help After a Hurricane?
Business financing is a powerful tool for growing businesses, but it’s just as useful for businesses experiencing a challenge or slowdown. Here are a few of the most popular financing options business owners leverage after experiencing a challenge.
|Revenue-Based Financing||Unlike traditional loans that come with strict eligibility requirements, revenue-based financing is an alternative financing program that doesn’t rely on your business credit score.
Get a lump sum amount that’s repaid through a small percentage of your daily sales. Funding times are fast because of the limited paperwork, and the transaction can be subordinated, meaning it won’t affect any current bank financing.
Since the amount you pay depends on your sales, revenue-based financing is a great way to increase liquidity as you recover from the storm. Once you start generating revenue again, your repayment can pick up speed, and you can cover your liabilities.
|Term Loans||Term loans are what most people think of when they hear “business loans.” Much like revenue-based financing, you get a one-time lump sum that’s repaid over a set schedule.
This type of loan carries standard eligibility requirements and can extend over a longer schedule than revenue-based financing. If your property needs major repairs, a term loan can provide the funds you need to cover construction costs and start your rebuilding process.
|Business Lines of Credit||A business line of credit offers flexible access to capital on an as-needed basis. Borrowers are granted a total credit limit they can draw from whenever they need liquidity, and they only pay interest on the amount they take.
Think of this option as a more powerful business credit card that can provide physical cash if needed. After a hurricane, this can help cover unexpected costs that come up as you build back stronger.
|Equipment Financing||Your equipment may have been damaged in the storm. Instead of putting pressure on your cash flow by purchasing new equipment outright, you can spread the cost over a more manageable schedule by financing it.
Equipment financing may also qualify your business for specific tax benefits, like Section 179. If you plan on purchasing equipment at all, financing is something to consider.
National Business Capital Stands as an Ally to Rebuilding Businesses
The communities affected by Hurricane Idalia will have an uphill battle to return to normalcy, but they have allies in their corner. National Business Captial’s team of expert Business Finance Advisors are standing by to help businesses get the financing they need to build back stronger – much faster than with your local bank or credit union.
Speak with our team by completing our digital application. If you have any questions throughout the process, give us a call at 631-213-6345.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Is Hurricane Season in Florida?
“Hurricane season” generally refers to the period from June 1st to November 15th, when hurricanes are most likely to occur. Florida’s humid climate and coastal geographical location form the perfect combination for storms.
How Dangerous Are Florida Hurricanes?
It depends. More severe storms (category 3 & higher) almost always come with high-speed winds and the potential for flooding. As you go up the scale, the risk of damage only becomes more significant.
Hurricane Idalia is a category three storm. This characterization may change as it approaches land, but as of Tuesday, August 29th, this is the most accurate description.
How Can a Speciality Finance Group Help Businesses Affected by Inclement Weather?
Repairs cost money. Without the cash flow to support your rebuilding, you may face a longer-than-average recovery time.
National Business Capital understands that business operations can come to a screeching halt overnight for reasons outside of your control. Hurricane Idalia is no different, and we want to do our part in rebuilding the communities that make up Florida and surrounding coastal areas.