Guest blog post by Stephen A. Cauffman, Manager, NIST Community Resilience Program
Keep the doors open, equipment running and orders coming in. That's what every business must do to meet payroll and build profits. But these three basic "musts" can become nearly impossible when a severe windstorm, flood or other hazard disrupts a community's threads of commerce.
Small businesses, including start-ups, are especially vulnerable to suffering a crippling—and even fatal—blow when their communities end up in harm's way. The Institute for Business and Home Safety has estimated that a fourth of small to mid-sized businesses never reopen after a major disaster. And the longer a business is sidelined, the greater the odds it will not recover. About 80 percent of businesses that are closed for a month stay that way.
Too often dismissed as fickle acts of fate, hazards of almost any variety can be planned for to improve the odds a business can survive, and even thrive, in their aftermath. Businesses that act to enhance their own resilience and contribute to community-wide efforts to do the same can avoid becoming another enterprise shuttered permanently in the wake of a disruptive event.