As the East Coast learned recently, disaster can strike quickly with little warning. Everyone tries to prepare for emergencies, but self-employed Notaries and NSAs also need to safeguard their business for such an event. Although you may not be able to save your home in a natural disaster, you can protect your livelihood. Following are some tips from FEMA and the Small Business Administration that can help:
- Update your emergency plan and emergency contacts on a regular basis. In the event that you may be unable to work for an extended period of time, identify a Notary associate who could serve your clients in the interim.
- Make sure that tax records, client databases, your ledger and seal are stored in an easily accessible part of your home where you can “grab them and go.”
- Back-up your computer regularly on a flash drive which can be secured in a safe area—another essential item to take if you need to evacuate.
- Make sure all your insurance, including your E&O insurance, is up-to-date.
- Develop a business continuity plan. If your business is home-based, do you have an alternate location you can operate from in case of an extended evacuation?
- If you are forced to evacuate, communicate with clients as soon as possible to advise them of your status or new location.
- And finally, if the worst happens and your records, ledger and seal are destroyed, notify your Secretary of State’s office immediately. Then contact the NNA’s online help or call the hotline at (888) 876-0827 for additional advice.
Being prepared makes good business sense and can mean the difference between a temporary setback and a business failure.