When rebuilding your business after a natural disaster it is important to establish a place of business (either your existing premises or a new one).
Recovering essential business records as quickly as possible after a natural disaster will help you to re-establish business processes and operations.
Re-establish your premises
Your premises, machinery, equipment and stock may have been damaged during a natural disaster. During your clean-up, you may have been able to salvage some items. If so, ensure they are stored safely and securely while you try to get your business back on its feet.
Whether you can reopen immediately after a natural disaster may depend on the state of your premises. If the property is structurally sound and your customers, suppliers and staff can reach it safely, you may be able to reopen as soon as you have finished the clean-up. You may find that you are not able to operate at full capacity immediately. For example, you may reopen with reduced hours or limited products or services available.
If your premises are not safe, or require repairs, you could investigate other options, including:
You may be able to use your negotiation skills to obtain a reduced rate or flexible terms if you explain to the landlord that you have been affected by a natural disaster.
Relocating your business
If you need to relocate your business, make sure that you thoroughly research any proposed new locations. Learn more about finding the right business location.
Consider whether you have the necessary equipment to deliver your product or service – you may need to buy, hire or lease equipment.
Restore your business records
During your natural disaster clean-up you may have salvaged records, files and correspondence – it’s important to assess what records you have, repair any damaged records or request new copies if they have been destroyed.
What records do you have?
The first step in recovering your business records after a natural disaster is to work out what hard copy and electronic records you have access to. Depending on the damage to your business you may have to rely on files stored offsite or any recent back-ups you’ve made.
Recovering as much information as you can from these records will make it easier for you to assess what records you still need to reconstruct.
Repair damaged records
Some of your hard copy records may have been damaged by the natural disaster, but not completely destroyed. The State Library of Queensland provides practical information to help you salvage damaged records.
Request copies of records
Your own records may have been damaged or destroyed, but you can reconstruct your financial records by researching your past transactions and requesting information from a range of sources (e.g. the Australian Taxation Office, your accountant, bank, service providers and suppliers).