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Is there anything worse than being in work mode and everything stops to a standstill ahead of a big storm?
Winter is great, everything is cozy, warm, and inviting. Winter weather and all the problems that come with it, not so great.
As small business owners, what are the steps we can take to minimize seasonal disruptions?
Here’s our guide to surviving the winter.
Listen, we all know it's coming: the temperatures will eventually drop. Get ahead of it and keep your space cozy and well stocked.
Think: Invest in indoor, outdoor, and space heaters that match your staff and client needs. Stock up on supplies you know you’ll need in order to avoid any holiday rushes.
This is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people forget. Especially when bogged down thinking about everything else associated with the holidays, end-of-year challenges, and setting up the new year.
Think: Insulation, sensors that monitor and detect leaks, keep the temperature at 55 when no one is in the building, and run a small trickle of water ahead of freezing temperatures.
Don’t forget: Make sure your sprinkler system hasn’t frozen over. Invest in a space heater or set heating on a timer.
Winter is a great time to stay on top of your space’s upkeep. It’s really the small details that, when neglected, cause the biggest issues.
Also, while we’re here… the winter months are tough on everyone's pockets, but do yourself, your staff, and your clients the favor and hire professional snow removers.
Think: Check your roof for damage or leaks, check and replace air filters, and remove debris from gutters.
Don’t forget: Check your insurance policy to be clear on what you are covered and not covered for. Make the necessary changes now so you aren’t surprised down the road.
Ok, this is the hardest point to keep in control of. You can keep your staff and clients toasty warm AND make sure everything is running smoothly without breaking the bank.
Think: Programmable thermostats, replace insulation, schedule maintenance and repairs, make the switch to energy efficient light bulbs, and add an energy efficient glaze to your windows and doors to keep the heat inside.
Fun Fact: Switch the direction of any ceiling fans to rotate clockwise on low speed to recirculate warm air.
While we’re more familiar with brown outs due to today’s technology, we can all remember the long weeks without power because of Superstorm Sandy. It’s better to be ready for a power outage than be caught without.
Think: Invest in a generator, especially if you plan on being open during any outages. Keep a physical copy of important records, numbers, and anything else you need to keep your business running smoothly.
Don’t Forget: Set up an automatic system to alert staff and customers that you’ll be closed due to inclement weather.
This is a great time to plan your marketing for the entire year. But, marketing isn’t just your ads and logos. Use the cold months to nurture client relationships.
Think: Reach out to loyal customers. Begin building relationships with new clients.
This has a little bit of both the business and practical side meshed together. You want to make sure your staff is happy, appreciated, and engaged in their work life balance.
Think: Help your staff feel the love with recognition programs, celebrate achievements, and offer professional developments and financial compensation. Create safety plans for inclement weather and allow extra time for travel. Reminder, nobody likes that guy that forces people in during the biggest snowstorm at great risk. Don’t be that guy.
This is a fun one! Attend community events and get to know colleagues, other small business owners, and new potential clients. Share your expertise, or just “shoot the shit”, the most important thing is to be engaged.
Think: Attend and sponsor events, gatherings, and the little things that make your community unique. Join a networking group.
Just have fun. Life doesn’t always have to be work, work, work. Enjoy the things you love about winter. Whether it's getting outside, cozying up indoors, or window shopping, live it up.
Think: Revel in a snow day. Enjoy a movie. Relax.
Last, and this goes without saying, but a little extra vitamin C & D to boost your immune system is always a good idea.