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In Case of Emergency: Do You Have a Plan?




Between Hurricane Sandy in the East and the recent 7.7 earthquake and tsunami warning in the West, it’s starting to feel like the end is nigh. But soon, it will be back to business as usual for most of us. That’s the good news. The bad news is that day may be further away than we’d like.

Even if you’re not in the path of the storm, Hurricane Sandy is going affect you. Here are a few things to think about to help lessen the storm’s impact on your online business.

Shipping:

We know from what happened after Hurricane Irene, shipping services are going to slow down and in some cases even stop for a number of days. That means checks that you expect to get in the mail won’t arrive on time and inventory shipments will be delayed as well.

If you’re doing the shipping, you might want to check with customers before putting that box in the mail. If it’s not a vital item and the customer lives on the East Coast, you should probably hang on to the package for another day or two.

Power:

It doesn’t matter where you live, if your website host is on the coast, you could lose your site. There’s not much you can do to stop it, but be prepared to notify customers in any way you can in order to explain the outage. I would be best to create an alternate Gmail address so you can still send out emails if your provider goes down.

This is also a good time to backup important files including client lists and financial documents, even full website back-ups if you can. Burn smaller files to disc and upload larger files to a cloud drive or other online storage system. Google Drive is an excellent free options if you’re rushing to do this today but going forward, it would be wise to come up with a solid plan for regular back-ups.

Social Media:

Social Media has become an excellent tool for sharing information in a disaster. If someone updates their Facebook, then all of their friends and family know that they’re safe. The downside are the fools posting false information and jokes. Last night, I watched as an old photo of a ruined pier in Atlantic City was retweeted hundreds of times. Eventually, it was picked up by newscasters who posted it as the truth on their sites. (Don’t get me started on the downfall of responsible journalism.)

For the next two days, let’s think of Social Media as an emergency phone line. Use it to pass along helpful information that you know to be correct and if you’re in the path of the storm, use it to let people know you’re okay. That’s all the input our brains can handle right now.

Can’t Concentrate?

You’re not alone. Instead of trying to do anything major today, why not make this a piddling day. Clean out your inbox, update sections of our website, delete old apps and information from your cell phone and tablet, log loose receipts for tax purposes, file the stack that’s been in your in box for two months. . . you get the idea. That way you won’t feel like you’ve lost the day but you’ll still be able to keep one eye on what’s happening in the world.

Stay safe.