For small businesses, the cold winter months can present serious challenges to keeping their doors open. For businesses operating in parts of the country that see large bouts of snowfall and sub-freezing temperatures, the winter can be particularly difficult. This winter is likely to be especially challenging for many small businesses, as the regular difficulties that winter traditionally brings are compounded with the unprecedented COVID-19 surges across the nation. This may make it even harder for already struggling small businesses.
There are, despite the many roadblocks facing small businesses, ways to prepare for the winter months. Doing so can help to mitigate the havoc the colder months can wreak on a struggling business’s bottom line.
The Biggest Setbacks
Whether a small business primarily offers services or manufactures goods, its ability to conduct business can be greatly affected by the weather outside. Business can be interrupted due to heavy snowfall, dangerous driving conditions, and snowed in employees. Additionally, business owners should ensure their businesses are safe for both employees and customers or hire a contractor to do so in their stead.
Owners and operators of small businesses have some control over dangerous winter situations. Most have the ability to clear sidewalks of hazards and can regularly remove snow from their roofs to both prevent structural damage and reduce the risk of falling ice and snow hurting a customer or an employee. However, there are still factors that business owners, unfortunately, don’t have control over. For instance, in normal winters, a small business owner could expect several workers to call in sick for a couple of days because of a common cold. This year, an employee getting sick could mean they’re unable to work for weeks. Now, unfortunately, if there’s an outbreak, it might necessitate the closing down of the entire business for an extended period.
How to Overcome Setbacks
First and foremost, any small business proprietor’s top priority this winter should be ensuring the safety of their employees and customers regarding COVID-19. Business owners should strictly adhere to all CDC recommendations for social distancing and other safety measures. It’s also important to implement a mandatory mask policy for employees and customers. Furthermore, planning for and understanding employee absences this winter is vital to the continued success of any small business.
For more traditional woes, a small business must have a recovery plan in the event of a weather-related disaster. If a business floods due to snowmelt or if the roof collapses from the collective weight of a blizzard’s snowfall, having a plan to bounce back from any given scenario can help to keep a small business on its feet.
Additionally, small business owners can share winter driving tips with their employees to help ensure they arrive to work and head home safely. This winter is like none before. With all the different stressors, it can be easy to forget the human aspect of a small business. It’s about the regular folks. They’re the ones who keep the wheels turning and should be respected and cared for to keep a business thriving.
This post was written by a guest blogger.