How to restart a local economy after a disaster.
One of the questions I often hear is: How can we restart a local economy after a disaster? Many business owners, local leaders, and government officials ask me this specific question. My response is the following: I think disasters pose a vast amount of challenges but also open the door to opportunities. This is the major reason why we need to plan and have a set of strategies in place. We must prepare the community, private sector and government to work together towards resiliency.
We need to restart as soon as possible!
Truth is, the economy of a local area or municipality will suffer the immediate consequences of the event, but if we are ready to bounce back, we can act quickly, move ahead, and are determined to see it thru, the opportunities to re-start the economy of a local area are endless. Because of these actions we ensure the following:
(1) families can rebuild their lives faster,
(2) avoid the mass exodus of families and individuals,
(3) work towards the rebuilding of the area instead of pushing for a total collapse of local economies.
Historically, disasters have evidenced that when businesses are not re-opened after a disaster, resident’s confidence levels rapidly decrease, and residents leave the area (Zandi, Cochrane, Ksiazkiewiz, & Sweet 2006). And that is just the beginning of a downward spiral on the local economy.
So, our goal must be to help re-start the local economy as soon as possible, foster creativity and resilience. Our goal must include support for business owners as they will catapult the recovery of local communities by creating employment, stability for affected families and a much-needed provision of goods and services.
Examples of restarted local economies
To understand the phenomena, we must look at new economies flourishing after disasters. For example, in 2005, I met an engineer who decided to open a construction firm in Louisiana after Katrina, while everyone else was running out he was walking in, and establishing a service provider business. I cannot count the number of debris management businesses that also pop-up after a disaster, some of these establish themselves as leaders and stay, others just serve the purpose and then disappear.
But let’s talk about recent events: after hurricane Maria, several innovative businesses came along, some never heard of before, some just a blast from the past. For example, a mobile washer-dryer service for those who lost power and water. Another example: a washing board factory, a total blast from the past. The point is local economies can be re-started by fostering new initiatives and by promoting planning for times like this.
Do you have a business recovery plan?
If you don’t have a plan, this is the perfect time to start planning. I offer free resources that will help you plan for business interruptions and plan how to re-start. Now is the time to start thinking about the future. Is not if, it’s when! If you are in doubt, schedule time to talk, I can help with that!