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Five Business Lessons that Hurricane Sandy Taught Us

every business needs an emergency planI live in Charleston, SC and “knock on wood” I have never experienced a devastating hurricane, even though the ghost of hurricane Hugo still lingers in this city.

Watching the pictures from the effects of Hurricane Sandy has reminded me that the ghost sticks around a long time, especially if you don’t learn the lessons on how to deal with the demon.

There are many lessons to be learned from Hurricane Sandy. Far too many for a single blog post or article. Nonetheless it is precisely at this juncture when the sore is still throbbing to evaluate what happened, what could have been avoided and what measures should be taken in the future. All this, not to add to the hurt and discomfort, but to make sure that they are not forgotten once the repairs have cleared away the rubble.

Charleston became a different city after it was essentially destroyed by Hugo in 1979. Not only were city institutions and infrastructure changed, but from the perspective of this blog that deals with not getting stuck in business situations, there were five key lessons that successful businesses implemented as part of their business core.

Lesson No. 1 – Contingency Planning is a Core element of any business

Lesson No. 2 – A business is more than just it’s products and factories. It’s employees, their familys, the community, vendors

Lesson No. 3 – Businesses can and should work together, not only in times of emergency.   Strengthen local business chapters, intstitutions

Lesson No 4 – Municipal governments should be more proactive in working with and learning from businesses. It helps both side. Careful about too much regulation. Understand that businesses are not a big target for revenue that can be sucked dry

Lesson No. 5 – Utilize technology effectively.

Unlike Hurricane Katrina, in which the response apparently to the natural disaster, was a disaster onto itself, this does not seem to be the case with Hurricane Sandy. On the other hand the aftermath response appears to be lacking, or so it is reported.

I have yet to hear any major government agency, whether it be Federal, State or Local, talking about the need for business contingency and emergency planning. And without providing the resources and training to businesses about why and how to do this – the real lessons of Hurricane Sandy will be washed away and taken out to sea.

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