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TheStreet Open House

3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: December 13

"I'm not suing for a bad review -- I'm suing because she called me a criminal," Dietz states in the article.

Several other instances similar to Dietz's has led to litigation over poor reviews, but getting a judge to approve a defamation suit will be much more difficult, the article says. A few states have anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) statutes that "make claims for defamation much more difficult, expensive and time-consuming for a plaintiff to litigate," the article says.

3. Restaurant lessons from Hurricane Sandy. The storm of the century is estimated to have caused $62 billion in damage, maybe a quarter of that is insured losses. Six weeks after the storm, restaurant operators are realizing the importance of disaster-recovery plans, according to QSR Magazine .

"With Hurricane Sandy, everyone was assuming that we would be equally as lucky as we were with past storms," Limor Ziarno, an Edible Arrangements franchisee in Brooklyn, told QSR. "Storms feel a bit like playing Russian roulette, except this time, the bullet fired on everyone and everything in our immediate world. We were not emotionally, physically, or mentally as prepared for Sandy as we could have been."

According to a 2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, half of small- and medium-sized businesses have no disaster-recovery plan in place, even though 65% of them are in regions at risk for natural disasters, the article says. Even more disturbing, 41% said it never occurred to them to put together a plan, while 40% stated that disaster preparedness is not a priority for them.

One of the biggest pieces of preparation is having a backup place in place to process payroll should a storm take out access to payroll, experts say. Having multiple methods of communication available is also imperative, such as two-way radios, given that during Hurricane Sandy, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint all reported widespread power outages and damages to lines and towers, according to the article.

Another big issue in the aftermath of the storm - an extended period of lack of power. Owning a backup generator or emergency lighting ready is also key.

"Operators have to over-think and over-prepare to ensure that your business has everything in place ahead of time," says Frank Garrido, vice president of operations for Edible Arrangements. "Clearly understand your processes and procedures, and make sure that everyone on your team understands the plan and knows what needs to be done."

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

>To submit a news tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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