As Brits, weather is not usually on our side. However, when you run a business and are faced with severe weather conditions such as several inches of snow, there are only certain things you can do. There are a few ways of mitigating the effects of bad weather on businesses, and of course they will vary. If you are a blogger, you might work from home and snow may have minimal effect on your day to day business. On the other hand, if you run a coffee shop on a high-street, then getting customers and staff through the door will pose a challenge.
Bad weather is inevitable, especially living in the UK and it can take a toll on small businesses, particularly if it is prolonged. With several inches of snow making the country come to a standstill, there are ways businesses can keep things running. Here are some ways to deal with bad weather conditions, to ensure minimal effect on your business.
If you live local to your business, then that’s great. However, if you happen to live far away and you commute to your office or your shop, then snow will cause a problem. Be prepared, driving in these harsh conditions can be dangerous, therefore you will have to really consider your safety before attempting to drive. You will need to keep up to date with all the transport news, to know if the buses and trains you need are running. Severe weather conditions often cause disruption on public transport.
This applies to both yourself and your staff. Getting yourself and staff in the premises of your business will be the biggest challenge. You will need to understand that not all staff can make it into work. However, to ensure maximum productivity, set some ground rules. If they can work from home, then encourage this and make sure they know what work needs to be completed.
Customers and clients
Depending on the business you are running, it’s going to be difficult to have face to face meetings with your clients. If you are running a café, then it may be difficult to get customers in for breakfast. However, you need to ensure that you are there to cater for those that will come. You should make your café look enticing and warm, a getaway from the freezing weather. Additionally, if you have made the extra effort of opening your café for the locals, then you will stand out and might be able to generate more of a profit.
If your business is more focused on meeting clients then you will need to try a different approach. If you have meetings booked and have appointments with clients, then don’t assume and cancel everything. Take the time to call and communicate with your clients, this will give you a chance to assess and understand their situation regarding the meeting. Or alternatively, you could always have a Skype call or hold conference calls. There are always ways to communicate, you just must find a method most suitable to you and you client.
Although it is unlikely, you might be faced with damage on your premises. Whether this is a fallen tree, damaging your entrance or your outdoor garden furniture being destroyed. You will need to consider that damage may occur during severe weather conditions. You will of course have insurance to cover most of the damages, however you should ensure that any small problems that can later escalate, are fixed immediately. For example, if the lock on your door is broken, then you should fix it immediately in case of theft or further damage. In the case of damage, you will need to act quickly, your main aim needs to be the prevention of any further damage.
Consider making a contingency plan for emergencies. A couple of inches of snow does not deem a state of emergency itself, however it’s good to be prepared. A contingency plan allows you to be prepared for out of the ordinary circumstances. With the weather in the UK being so unpredictable, high levels of snow aren’t always expected. Therefore, taking time to create a plan of action, when the weather is severe will help you and your business operate in bad conditions. Make sure to highlight the main issues as lack of staff, not being able to get into work, unable to meet clients and dealing with any damages etc.
These are some of the things you will need to consider when the weather is severe. There hasn’t been heavy snowfall in Britain for a couple of years, however as a business owner it is best to be prepared. If this is the first time your small business has been faced with heavy snowfall, then take it as a learning opportunity and make sure to be prepared in the future. In cases like this, small business owners need to ensure that they keep in touch with staff and clients to keep them updated.