The 2014 hurricane season has been as quiet as those of the past years, but don't let complacency potentially endanger your business. It's critical to make preparations before a storm enters the Gulf of Mexico.

It's important to consider the specific ways your business operates when creating a disaster preparedness plan and that preemptive and thorough preparation can significantly lessen the impact of a disaster.

Here is a list of other factors to consider while crafting your emergency preparedness plan, courtesy of Capital One Bank.

  • Create a disaster recovery plan – formulate critical business functions and determine how rapidly these must be recovered. Run through the plan at least once a year.
  • Determine an alternate location: The recovery process after a natural disaster is often length for most business owners.  Consider alternate locations for employees to continue working,  such as a secondary office or hotel facilities, and keep these stocked with essential equipment and files.
  • Customer preparation: Publish preparedness information for customers so that they are aware of your operations plans in the event of a disaster. This should include secondary business or store locations on your website and social media. Be sure to also include directions for placing orders and payments.
  • Document your property: Photograph your property to guarantee the needed assistance from your insurance company.
  • Be prepared to meet emergency cash-flow needs: Set up emergency funds at your financial institution and keep emergency cash in a secure location for necessary purchases. Online banking services and commercial credit cards are especially helpful in such times.
  • Employee preparation and communication: Make certain employees have a reliable means of communicating with you and each other, and that they are fully aware of your business' emergency preparation plans.
  • Recovery: After your business resumes normal operations,  assess your company's preparedness plan and adjust as needed.