Hurricane Checklist for Businesses

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Many local businesses (restaurants, stores, etc.) must close during a severe storm or hurricane, but thanks to technology many can remain open or operate remotely. For a business equipped to operate during storms, saying that you’re open can be just as important as saying that you’re closed.

Regardless of industry, every business must take the proper steps to ensure that potential disruptions and profit loss are minimized as much as possible. Consider taking these steps to protect your business before, during, and after severe weather.

 

Checklist If Business Will Be Completely Closed

  • Pause all advertisements.
  • Add a special notice or banner across the top of the website and to any “Contact” pages notifying visitors that due to severe weather, the business will be closed.
  • Update hours on Google My Business, Facebook, and other listing websites that show business hours of operation.
  • Update all email signatures that the business will be closed and staff will have limited or no access to email (depending on the business).
  • Set up email auto replies for all accounts that will not be checked regularly, especially general inquiry emails like info@example.com, questions@example.com, etc.
  • Update all voicemail recordings.
  • Create a post on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to notify followers of the business’s status during the storm.
  • Pause any pre-scheduled social media posts.
  • Collect all passwords to ensure that all accounts (email, social media, website, etc.) can be accessed remotely.
  • Notify customers and vendors via email that the business will be closed and provide contact information should they need to contact the business during that time.
  • If applicable, forward calls to a mobile phone or a line that will have service.
  • Collect contact information for all employees, communicate the business’s severe weather plan company wide, and provide regular updates during and after the storm.

Checklist If Business Will Remain Open Or Operate Remotely

  • Pause advertisements only in areas that are affected by the hurricane.
  • Add a special notice or banner across the top of the website and to any “Contact” pages notifying visitors that business will not be affected by the weather.
  • Update all email signatures that the business will not be affected during the hurricane.
  • Update all voicemail recordings that the business will not be affected during the hurricane.
  • Create a post on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to notify followers that business will not be affected during the hurricane.
  • Pause any pre-scheduled social media posts that might be insensitive to those affected by the storm.
    • For example: “It’s a beautiful day to go to the beach!”
  • Collect all passwords to ensure that all accounts (email, social media, website, etc.) can be accessed remotely.
  • Notify customers and vendors via phone or email that the business will remain open during the storm. If any communication will be modified during that time, provide the appropriate contact details.
  • If applicable, forward calls to a mobile phone or a line that will have service.
  • Collect contact information for all employees, communicate the business’s severe weather plan company wide, and provide regular updates during and after the storm.

 

Checklist For After The Storm

  • Unpause advertisements.
  • Remove hurricane-related messaging in email signatures and voicemails.
  • Remove call forwarding and update auto reply email settings.
  • Update special notice or banner on website that the business is open. This message can be left on the website for a few days or until things get back to normal in your area.
  • Update social media followers (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) that the business is open and share any pictures, news, or any other updates that might be meaningful to that audience.
  • Update hours on Google My Business, Facebook, and other listing websites that show business hours of operation.
  • Notify customers and vendors via phone or email that the business is open and will be operating as usual moving forward. If the business is not able to operate as usual, provide the appropriate details and keep customers and vendors informed until business has returned to normal.

 

 


Jordan Polhemus is an Account Supervisor at Search Influence; a nationally recognized digital marketing agency located in New Orleans.

 

 

 

 

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