The Environment Agency has launched a new awareness campaign after revealing that intense bouts of severe flooding will become much more frequent in England and Wales in future.
Met Office records show that nine of the 17 record breaking rainfall months since 1910 have occurred since 2000.
Most recently, the heavy flooding across Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire in December 2015 - the wettest month on record - affected thousands of businesses and is estimated to have cost the economy at least £5 billion.
The Met Office has calculated that there is now a one in three chance of a new monthly rainfall record in at least one region every winter.
Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, said: “Climate change is likely to mean more frequent and intense flooding. Floods destroy lives, livelihoods, and property.
“Our flood defences reduce the risk of flooding, and our flood warnings help keep communities safe when it threatens. But we can never entirely eliminate the risk of flooding. Checking your flood risk is the first step to protecting yourself.”
Specific guides for SMEs in the North West are also available online.