Recover from an emergency

Once the emergency situation has passed you need to get your business back on its feet as quickly as possible. How well you recover may depend on how adaptable you are after a crisis. During the recovery phase, you will need to conduct a business impact statement and reassess the market and your financial position.

Once your finances are in order and you've planned a way forward, restoring your business can be a lot easier. When you're back up and running, you should revisit your Emergency management plan.

Update your plan to include the lessons learnt by your business during the emergency and ways of minimising your risk in the future.

After the danger has passed, your first phone calls should be to your insurance provider and any financial institutions or other debtors you make regular payments to.

As a business owner, your employees, customers and suppliers will also be looking to you for answers. If you've planned well, you should already know what needs to be done and when you expect it to be complete. This will make it easier to communicate with your stakeholders.

Communicate and seek help

If your phone service is interrupted, organise your calls to be diverted so you don't miss any important calls.

You should also consider alternative ways of communicating if local telecommunication systems are affected, such as setting up a web-based email account that you can access from anywhere – this can also be used as a forwarding address for all business emails.

Contact key people

There are a number of people you'll need to communicate with as you guide your business toward recovery:

  • Your insurance provider needs to receive your claim as soon as possible to ensure your payment is processed quickly.
  • Your bank or building society needs to know your change in circumstances so they can discuss an alternative payment arrangement while your business recovers.
  • Your employees need to know if their jobs are safe or when and where they can return to work.
  • Your customers want to know when you're back in operation. The faster you communicate this, the less time your customers will have to turn to a competitor. If possible, organise a targeted marketing effort, such as a social media campaign, to promote your business reopening.
  • Your suppliers want to know if they still have your business. They may also be concerned about how they will deliver goods if access to your business is affected. Talk to them to arrange a postponement of deliveries or an alternative supply route until your circumstances change. If your suppliers are local and they have also been affected by the emergency, you may need to consider organising an alternative supplier.

In the confusion and chaos following an emergency situation there are a number of tough issues that arise, and often you may need to seek help. You can seek help from a number of sources.

Accountant

Talk to your accountant about your business' financial position.

Lawyer

Access free legal services in your area if a legal issue arises or if you just need help with your insurance claim.

Counsellor

There's a wide range of support services available to help yourself and your employees recover.

Business adviser

You can discuss your position in the new market and decide whether it's possible for you to continue your business, and the capacity in which you can do so.

Family, friends or community members

Seek help from family or friends. You could also consider talking to other affected businesses in your local community to find an arrangement that will benefit both of you.

What to do...

More information...

  • Find tips for recovering from a disaster at Disaster Assist.
  • For a list of organisations that offer free legal advice in your area, visit Australian Security and Investments Commission (ASIC)'s MoneySmart website.
  • Search Advisory Services for personal counselling services that may be able to assist you.
  • Lifeline Australia provides free, confidential and anonymous, 24-hour telephone counselling for business owners needing emotional support. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website.
  • beyondblue has a range of information and resources associated with depression and anxiety, and provides callers with a referral to relevant services. You can call beyondblue on 1300 224 636 or visit their website.
  • The Australian Small Business Advisory Service (ASBAS) programme offers low cost advisory services to small businesses. Search our Advisory Services to find the ASBAS nearest to you.

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