What do you do when natural disasters force family, friends, past clients and current ones out of their homes?  In the days and weeks afterwards, continuing to generate business can seem impossible – but it doesn’t have to be, if you step up as a community leader in times of trouble.

No matter what you’re dealing with; hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms or a crushing blow of layoffs, we have 8 tips for you on how to keep moving ahead. Too often, people stand by the sidelines waiting for a leader to appear.  Why wait to be rescued when you can help your neighbors and solidify your place in your neighborhood and town as person who can be trusted to take action and help move things forward.

1          Stay calm and committed to being of service.  Be the leader in your community.  This must be your mindset when disaster strikes your area.

2          Put your own oxygen mask on first.  What is YOUR plan to deal with disaster? A ‘go-bag’, water, emergency plan for picking kids up at school, where you’ll board your pets if necessary, medication bag, etc.  Financially, if you don’t already have a 6-month reserve, set that as a goal immediately. Have a plan.  If you don’t take care of yourself first, how will you help everyone else?

3          Have a list of evacuation details. Share with your Past Client, Center of Influence Database.HARD COPY is best since internet and phones often go down! (Great doorknocking leave behind)

Where do you go if there’s a threat to your area? Hurricane shelters, fire paths, evacuation centers.  Area hospital phone numbers, local contact organizations, the Red Cross…what’s the right plan for your area?

4          Create a local Facebook page:  “we survived Hurricane Harvey”  or “We survived the earthquake of San Juan Capistrano” whatever makes sense for your area.  Know how to create a page quickly so people can access critical details and connect with your community and their families easily via their cell phones.

5          Dedicate the days and weeks after disaster to urgent, caring outreach.  This applies to your family, your past clients, your neighbors and anyone you can help.  Be the one who cares and be committed to doing what it takes.  Phone calls are most efficient but phones may be down, so load your car up with water and cookies or subway sandwiches and make your rounds.

6          When you do your outreach provide a list of recommended service providers.  Again, HARD COPY is best.  This should include repair people like roofers and carpenters but also insurance company quick contact numbers, FEMA, Red Cross, emergency pet rescuers, etc.   If you can get discounts from your service people, see if they’ll pass along to your own past clients, neighbors, etc.  Help people out in their time of need! You’re helping the service people as well as those who use them!

7          After things settle, do a second round of communication to be sure everyone is now ok and continue to be of service as previously mentioned.  This is a great opportunity for you to use the FORD (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams) ‘script’ to re-connect.

8          Always ask, ‘who else do you know who could use my help?’  Do this throughout the process.  Don’t worry about ‘when do you plan to move’…don’t be tacky.  They’ll remember that you were there during stressful times and referrals WILL come.  This is important work to take seriously.  If you’re not helping, someone else is!  Be the one everyone knows they can count on.

How to help Hurricane Harvey victims?