For many stores, the season for unpredictable weather has officially begun. Whether each instance of winter storms ends up being a minor inconvenience or a debilitating safety hazard, your staff and store should be prepared for any eventuality. This excerpt from AMEX Open Forum provides some general tips to help you make it through.
With storm season ravaging many parts of the country and extreme weather events like Blizzard Jonas disrupting daily life, running a small business can become even more challenging than usual during the winter months. How your small business navigates stormy weather and comes back from the inevitable shutdowns may have a direct impact on the bottom line.
Preparing for Inevitable Interruptions
Winter storms can likely disrupt your small business in one way or another. Severe weather may lead to property damage and risk for employees and customers. Even if you’re not caught in the eye of the storm, your company can experience the collateral effects, resulting in a slowdown.
Here are some steps you can take to help minimize damage in the event of a severe storm, so your business has a better chance of recovering quickly.
- Stockpile emergency supplies.
Have on hand items that you may need in case a storm hits, including flashlights, blankets, food and water, first aid kit, battery powered radio, shovels, sandbags and road salt.
- Establish backup power.
You may determine that your business would be best equipped with a generator in case of a power outage. This could be used for equipment that requires continual electricity, as well as a backup heating source.
- Determine an emergency plan of action.
Pinpoint where on the business premises employees and customers should gather if a storm hits. Discuss ways to minimize safety risks. Regularly review this plan with your workforce.
- Financially plan for downtime.
“Effective small-business owners reinvest and create reserves in the ‘boom’ times to ensure they get through the downtimes,” Michelli says. “If you are profitable but don’t reinvest or save a portion of that profit for the inevitable ebbs and flows of business, you likely won’t be around for the long haul—storms or no storms.”