How Can Winter Weather Impact Small Businesses?

How Can Winter Weather Impact Small Businesses?

This week, much the Northeastern U.S. and even parts of the Midwest were battered with big snow storms that dropped as much as three feet in some areas. That led to millions staying home from work for at least a day, and could have had a significant impact on small businesses in particular.

Even those businesses that were able to successfully stay open throughout the storm will probably take major hits to their bottom lines, because employees often can’t get to the location itself, and potential customers aren’t likely to be too keen on leaving their homes for any reason, according to a report from Inc. Magazine. However, in the run-up to the storm, many people flocked not only to grocery stores but others to make sure they were fully prepared for the next few days.

“It got crazy in the morning, first thing,” Joe Silverman, who owns New York Computer Help in Manhattan and saw a 20 percent increase in business the day before the storm, told the site. “People were coming in with desktop computers in garbage bags and suitcases.”

However, it should be noted that even a more sizable increase the day before a storm isn’t likely to make up the business lost during and even after it hits, the report said. Some companies lose as much as 90 percent of their business, if they open at all. Last year, when the arctic vortex descended upon much of the Northern U.S., some smaller companies took months to fully recover from the long period of slow business.

Others impacted as well
The reach of these massive storms extends well beyond the areas affected, especially where major cities are involved, the report said. That’s because travel tends to get canceled as airports batten down and highways get closed, and that could strand small business employees and owners in faraway cities, where they may be unable to do their work.

Owners who can properly insulate themselves against this kind of difficult situation by improving their bottom lines overall will typically be able to weather these storms with greater ease. That kind of effort might include finding more affordable small business insurance coverage – including on policies for errors and omissions insurance – to potentially free up thousands of dollars every year, which can be put toward improving other aspects of the business.