How Small Business Owners Can Plan and Protect Against Floods

Why plan ahead?

According to the Small Business Credit Survey (SBCS), 61% of affected businesses in FEMA-designated disaster areas in the United States lost anywhere between $1-$25,000 in revenues in late 2016 and 2017, and 35% lost more than $25,000. Businesses impacted by natural disasters had a harder time paying their employees’ wages, making payments on debt, and purchasing inventory.

Businesses can be vulnerable to natural disasters across many dimensions:

Capital vulnerability, including fixed assets such as the office building, inventory, and cash.

Labor vulnerability, such as injured employees or evacuated employees who are worried about restoring their lives.

Supplier vulnerability, such as being forced to adapt to supply shortages because of lifeline facility disruptions (transportation systems, power and water utilities).

Customer vulnerability, such as customer preferences changing after a disaster event [2].

Planning and protecting against floods (also called mitigation) can help small business owners reduce hurricane and flood risks. These links are the top three most useful resources:

1. The FEMA Ready Business Program provides information on how businesses can identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses that put assets at risk from hazards. Strategies on how businesses can reduce loss or damage from hazards can be found here

2. The Protecting Your Home or Small Business From Disasters interactive web course explains different kinds of hazards and how individuals can protect their business property. 

3. Smart Home America provides Business Insurance and Continuity Planning tips, including advice on whether a business needs insurance such as flood insurance, business interruption insurance, or crop insurance



    [2] Zhang Y, Lindell MK, Prater CS. Vulnerability of community businesses to environmental disasters. Disasters. 2009;33(1):38-57. doi: 10.1111/j.0361-3666.2008.01061.x

    More Resources


    • Fortified Commercial is a construction standard and designation that helps to lessen damage to a business’s physical building. The application can be found here.

    Additional resource on floods:

    Additional resources on hurricanes:

    Additional resources specific for Texans, but all small businesses might find them beneficial:


    Prepare for Floods

    Respond to Floods

    Recover After Floods

    Contact us

    The Technology & Information Policy Institute main office is in the Jesse H. Jones Communication Center, Building A. We are part of the Moody College of Communication.

    Find Us

    2504 Whitis Ave.
    CMA 5.102
    Austin, TX 78712




    Twitter: @texastipi

    Facebook: @texastipi