Learning curve: Hard lessons for businesses in hurricanes

Harvey, Irma and Maria have taught small business owners that disaster planning is more than just evacuating and trying to mitigate physical damage — it's also about the "what ifs."

Many realized they hadn't done the right kind of preparation, including buying flood insurance. Even those with carefully made plans ran into situations they didn't account for.

The owner of a home care business in Florida had a detailed plan before Hurricane Irma hit, but didn't expect cellphone towers to fail. And a Miami Beach website designer thought evacuating to Tampa shortly before Irma was a good idea — but the storm changed its path.

Some owners say they want their own generators. Others say they'll add contingency provisions to their contracts — or even spend the hurricane season elsewhere.