Small Business Recovery Lessons from the Joplin Tornado

Updated: May 19, 2020

In January of this year, I relocated my family and business to Joplin, Missouri. Just as we were settling in COVID-19 hit and small businesses, vibrant with life when I arrived, suddenly went dark and empty. While the shutdown has been labeled as “temporary,” the effect on many small business owners feels much more long-lasting, if not permanent.


While I was not living in Joplin when the Tornado of 2011 hit, in hearing firsthand accounts from friends and neighbors and from additional research, I believe there are some parallels we can apply now during COVID-19 as we work to get our businesses back on track.


The World Has Changed, So Must We.


When the Joplin tornado hit, in 30 minutes, this community was forever altered. What was true the day before did not matter in the hours, weeks, and months that followed. A new reality had dawned. There was a situation of such magnitude that it required everyone’s immediate and undivided attention.