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Your Retail Business Must be Operational during Hurricane Season

Sep 17, 2008
Decisions on how to keep your retail business operations up and running during a hurricane or other emergency situation must be communicated quickly. Hurricane Katrina and hurricane Ike poignantly identified that land lines and cell phones were of little or no value for an extended time period. Only satellite phones provided an effective method of communication during this critical period!

Ask any owner or manager about their retail store's disaster or crisis management plan and they will probably tell you that one is in existence somewhere. Upon further examination, you will usually find that the disaster plan is only a simple checklist that is minimally helpful and most employees are not even aware of it. You may also find that a more extensive plan exists for data recovery, which is important, but not all inclusive.

Many stores overlook a communications plan, and, more importantly a communications vehicle. How will your company maintain continuity and re-allocate inventory and assets to and from an affected area? How will the owner or manager make critical decisions and communicate these decisions to key staff members? How will you communicate with Suppliers? Customers? Employees? Investors?

During times of crisis, communication between several groups of people is essential in order for a store to survive. These include: employees, suppliers and vendors, customers and potential customers, and the general public. It is critical to the ongoing success of a retail business that communications with each of these groups be maintained or be restored as quickly as possible during the recovery period to minimize disruption. Owners need to be aware of critical decisions that are being made and know that the store's manager is dealing with the crisis in the most effective manner possible. Employees need to know which roles they need to fill, whether or not they still have jobs and when they will be able to return to work. Customers and potential customers need to know if the business is able to function during a recovery period and if it will be able to provide the needed products or services.

Over the past two decades, technology has quickly changed the methods and the speed with which we communicate. Electronic technology has made it possible to reach groups of people easily and quickly through the use of telephones, fax machines, cell phones, e-mail, text messaging, the Internet and mass communications such as radio and television. All of these systems have one thing in common, they are ground based, which often renders them useless during disasters and times of crisis. Natural and man-made disasters can, and do, disrupt ground based communications systems leaving businesses and the general population without even the most basic of communication methods.

However, a satellite phone is unaffected by natural disasters on the ground, and continues to functionally and efficiently operate allowing you to maintain communication as well as maintain business continuity. The longer period of time your retail business is without communication, the more customers you will lose to competitors and the greater the chance of business failure. Protect your retail business by including satellite phones in your business disaster or emergency management plan. Keep the lines of communication open and remain operational while you recover from the damage caused by a natural disaster or emergency situation.
About the Author
Lou Altman is the CEO and Founder of GlobaFone, an award winning, leading provider of Iridium Satellite Phones and global wireless solutions to Government and enterprise clients for the past 10 years. Other articles can be viewed at http://www.SatellitePhoneStraightTalk.com. GlobaFone is located in Portsmouth, NH and Lou can be reached on 603-433-7232.
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