Small Business Owners Preparing to Weather Another Tough Winter

by / Tuesday, 21 October 2014 / Published in Productive Business Tips

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The Fall season continues on, with the specter of colder temperatures ever approaching and the memory of last Winter’s polar vortex fresh in the minds of many small business owners all over the country. While the thought may be grim to some, business owners have no choice but to prepare as best they can to meet with unpredictable business patterns ranging from glacially slow to unpredictable boom. In an article on northjersey.com, a few case studies were looked at, from an auto-body shop preparing for a surge in accidents on icy roads, to a gym planning on opening new locations as well as a home healthcare service planning for sever weather in advance. Business owners need to account for the possibility of greater demand, or on the flip-side being forced to remain productive while snowed in.

Review the numbers from last Winter. What happened last Winter is a likely indicator of how things stand to go this year assuming that there is a similarly enduring cold snap. If you had sales go through the roof during the coldest part of the season, you should make plans to handle increased volume as well as emergency plans that would allow you to seek additional capital in the event you need to scramble for new hires or inventory. While some businesses were hit hard by the polar vortex, others saw a spike in profitability because of the inclement conditions, so be sure that your business can handle either extreme.

Make plans to deal with weather based challenges facing your staff. Although you might have some very dedicated employees, you still need to make plans for what to do in the event that they are unable to come to work because of inclement weather. In certain areas last year, such as in the Southern US where snow is much less common, entire areas were left without the ability to use their major roadways due to accidents caused by the unfavorable road conditions. Is your business able to get through a period where road closures would potentially reduce your sales? Do you have some potential temp employees closer to your business who you could call in to replace others who can’t come in? These are all considerations that must be accounted for before the middle of Winter arrives.

Create an emergency kit for your business. The snow and ice can effect your business quickly, depending on your area. If you are living in an area that is at risk for blizzards and other types of extreme cold weather, be sure that you have some emergency supplies, such as flares and blankets handy in the event that you or an employee are trapped inside your location for an extended period of time.

Listen to the weather report and don’t let storms be a surprise for you! Especially in areas that are more snow prone, listen to the forecast and don’t get caught by surprise. Especially if weather plays a large role on business volume, knowing what you are in for in advance makes all the difference.

Photo Credit to  Alice Popkorn on Flickr

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