Is Your Small Business Prepared to Weather the Storm?
Going into to business is no small feat. You chose to transform your passion into a business because you saw a need. But when a storm comes, whether rain, sleet or snow, demand for your product or service can be a little unpredictable. And your business can suffer great physical damage as well. If disaster struck, how would your small business fare? This past winter saw one of the worst winter storms in history. Many businesses experienced physical damage, while others were forced to remain closed due to snowfalls that surpassed everyone’s expectations. The market (and environment) is full of twists and turns, therefore it’s a good idea to have an emergency plan set in place.
Take a proactive approach.
Though many businesses saw a sharp decline in their traffic and sales, others endured physical hardships. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) recommends keeping a planning kit within your reach. This kit helps to identify specific physical danger areas within your business; what to do in case of a fire, power outage and other risk factors. This will help you to develop a plan that will keep your business afloat and functioning during a natural disaster.
After the storms cleared, many businesses began to market aggressively. While this would be the normal reaction after a long drought in sales, says David Goldin, CEO and founder of alternative business financing provider AmeriMerchant, it can be a bit risky depending on how consumers respond. But let’s face it, going into business was risky and no one ever achieved real success without it. Developing specific, targeted marketing plans is a must, and creating them with “ready-to-launch” ability is essential.
The lack of traffic small businesses experienced during the later winter months and even into April in some cases was detrimental. And during times like these, it is vitally important to have ready-to-launch marketing plans in place.
In today’s world, some would consider marketing synonomous with mobile connectivity. When disaster strikes, to market effectively and reach your target areas, your small business’ mobile connectivity should be simple accessible. 2014’s winter storm confined many business owners to their homes, so it is important to have connectivity that is accessible from anywhere. And it should be simple and cost effective to the point that IT support is not needed as that can create unnecessary expenses during a tight period for your business. Sync all of your email, calendars, contacts and files to ensure convenience.
No matter what the economic climate, hiring and firing are two of the most critical responsibilities of small business owners.
During the winter storm of 2014, many businesses saw stagnation in their revenue because the extreme weather simply stifled demand. It is important during these times to accurately analyze where your business is financially and take appropriate action. Ken Dzierzawiec, vice president at HR consulting firm F&H Solutions Group, advises that in cases of having to let go of an employee, be careful and be humane. He says, “The rules of thumb for termination are to be fair, recognize length of service and qualifications, be truthful, and communicate the issues in an upfront manner, rather than let the rumor mill take hold.”
Running a small business is about strong marketing and prioritizing. Having a disaster plan in place whether it’s physical, financial, or marketing (technically it should be all 3) is not an option. Small businesses cannot afford the ebbs and flows that larger businesses normally encounter, so emergency plans are required. Make sure you’re still standing and thriving after Mother Nature has her way. Make sure your small business can weather the storm!
Photo credit: Edu Lauton at unsplash.com
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