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How to Survive a Real Company Catastrophe

Every enterprise hits rough patches.

Sales go down. Key employees quit. Lawyers sue. It's part of doing business.

A "company catastrophe," however, is more than a rough patch. It's like when a hurricane hits. Here's how to survive a real one.

Two Hurricanes

Valeria Quinones did it -- twice. She opened a restaurant in Puerto Rico in the face of two hurricanes that paralyzed the island. The death toll from Hurricane Maria is still rising.

Today, she is up and running with her Pita Pit franchise. It is one of the fastest-growing fast-food chains in the United States, and has more than 600 stores in 11 countries.

But Quinones literally had to weather storms that shut down roads, power and businesses. Mid-way through construction, she had no power, water, gasoline and very few resources to continue.

"I decided to accept all that was out of my control and focus on solutions," she told Forbes. "I had to work with what was available."

Many Lessons

Businesses can do much to prepare for disaster. Some employers are required by law to have emergency plans.

Some business lessons, however, come through catastrophes. Quinones said she learned lessons that helped her survive in business and life:

  • Have patience
  • Focus on solutions
  • Maintain a positive attitude
  • Work hard, even if nobody else does
  • Help others and accept help from others
  • Take time to celebrate successes

It took two years, but Quinones discovered dreams don't come easy. "I was always told that dreams come true when you give your all to accomplish them," she said.

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