While this time of year for many small businesses is spent concentrating on getting ready for the holiday season, other issues still loom. Perhaps chief among these, at least for companies in colder climates, is the fact that harsh winter weather can do major damage, and they might have to do more to prepare themselves for such an eventuality.
There are many types of emergencies which could prove disastrous for small businesses, but when cold weather, heavy snow and ice accumulation combine, so too can many of those risk factors, according to a report from Fox Business. For instance, heavy snow could slow down commutes, keep workers home altogether, create other travel delays, or even lead to workers getting sick or hurting themselves.
“Unplanned events are just a part of life, but they pose a big challenge to the small business owner,” Leslie Barber, a small business advocate and the small business engagement officer at QuickBooks, told the news organization. “Bad weather, travel delays, sick time, ailing parents and child-care needs are just some of the emergencies that could really bring a small business to its knees.”
What can be done?
The good news is that when these storms hit, even a few simple precautions can help small businesses stay afloat through the worst of conditions, the report said. While it’s obviously unreasonable to expect companies to be able to clear roads or avoid airport delays themselves, giving employees more flexibility to work from home when they need to, whether it’s because they have a sick child at home or because conditions are just too dangerous to drive in, can go a long way. In fact, it can also be a positive for companies, because some studies show that having a work from home option available to employees year-round actually often leads to more employee satisfaction overall. Further, it can also save companies money because they might not have to spend as much on utilities and other costs if fewer people come into the office.
Finally, owners who want to make sure their companies are protected should also invest in some affordable small business insurance. For instance, having general liability insurance can go a long way toward insulating business owners and their companies from high costs associated with falls and other damage during the winter months.