A back-up source of electricity has become a must-have resource for all small businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. Smart business people realized if you want a sustained cash flow and life style in troubled times, you’ll have to learn to run your business when the power grid goes down.
Small-businesses in Puerto Rico were able to stay open and accept digital payments even after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island’s electric grid. The Punta Maria Bakery in Rincon stayed open and made money by accepting Bitcoin even though the grid was down, blogger Annie Mueller reported on Medium.
The owners even posted a sign that said “We Don’t Always Have Electricity, But We Accept Bitcoin.” That means Punta Maria’s owners were able to make some money without the electric grid, phone service, cash, and possibly cell-phone service. All they needed was an internet connection and an off-grid source of electricity like a gas or solar generator.
How Businesses Can Operate Without Grid Electricity
One of the greatest ongoing threats to the survival of small businesses is the dependence of the economy on electricity.
Around 78% of transactions of consumer transactions in the USA in 2015 were made with credit or debit cards, The San Francisco Federal Reserve reported. Credit and debit cards require a card reader which needs electricity and internet or phone service to operate.
Small businesses should be able to keep taking credit and debit card payments when the grid is down – if they have backup power, internet, and payment systems available. That means entrepreneurs who are prepared for outages can continue to operate or perhaps even turn a disaster into a competitive advantage.
No Grid Electricity, No Cash, No Problem
A greater problem would be lack of access to cash. Most people get cash from registers or automatic teller machines (ATMs) that need electricity to run. That means cash would have to be distributed the old-fashioned way through local bank branches, which no longer exist in some areas.
Even if cash can be distributed, it might be days or weeks after a disaster before the government or banks can haul the banknotes to your area. That means you might be faced with several days or weeks without a functioning local economy.
Beyond that, paper cash presents a huge safety risk because it can be stolen or taken by force. If you do have paper cash in an emergency situation and you actually use it, you’ll attract the attention of bad guys who have guns. And the truth is, even if you have guns yourself, you really don’t want to risk a shootout over a cash transaction if it can be avoided.
So it makes good sense for every business owner who needs to stay open, to prepare to do so under these adverse circumstances… without cash and without the electric grid. Further, entrepreneurs that can achieve those goals will survive, thrive, and keep their families safe after a catastrophe. The good news is that with the right technology, you really can run your business when the power grid goes down.
Run Your Business When The Power Grid Goes Down
Most businesses that have internet access and some type of backup electricity should be able to keep operating and run your business when the grid grid goes down. It should also be possible for freelancers, folks who work from home, and online entrepreneurs to keep operating and even making money when the electric grid is down for a sustained period.
Even gig economy workers; such as Uber, Lyft, and GrubHub drivers, might be able to keep working and making money with no grid. Such workers might be able to keep operating if they have satellite smartphones.
There is also a strong possibility that the cellphone system will start to come back on before the electric grid after an emergency. Phone towers are self-contained units that are easier to repair and can operate with off-grid power sources. Remarkably, Wi-Fi and cell-phone service might come on in your area before other utilities.
This means smartphones and payment apps; like Apple Pay, PayPal, and Google Pay, might keep operating in your area if the grid is down. Business owners might be faced with customers with no cash, who cannot pay with their phones because there is no electricity. A company with a source of backup electricity might be able to accept Apple Pay, PayPal, and Google Pay even if the grid is down.
Keeping your business operational is critical because you will still need to make money, pay bills, and feed your family after a catastrophe. An off-grid electrical backup system and a satellite internet connection would be two of the smartest investments for any small businessperson, entrepreneur, or freelancer to make in an increasingly chaotic world.
Conclusion: Backup preparations for your business should make it possible to stay open for business and even make some money after a “grid down” event. In addition to having a source of off-grid backup power, you should consider other payment methods which are likely to continue to operate.