In many areas, winter storms are a scary reality for small businesses. Most business owners won’t be singing “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow,” but hoping that severe weather stays well away from their business. Rightly so, since the threat of windstorms, blizzards, and ice storms can be a terrifying situation for all small businesses.
Preparing for a storm can save your business money by helping prevent structural damage, loss of revenue from unnecessary closures during repairs, and costly liability suits from preventable accidents. To make sure your small business is ready to take on the worst winter storms, read on.
Prepare your office building. Extreme weather storms can cause structural damage to your building. Typically, frozen pipes are the culprit, which then burst and water seeps indoors. Check your building carefully for drafts, leaks, and cracks, especially around the windows and doors. If possible, drain all exterior pipes so that the remaining liquid doesn’t freeze and break the pipes. Additionally, add insulation to exposed pipes to help prevent the chill.
Establish and practice safety drills. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends running emergency drills before the bad weather hits. From evacuation routes, communications with employees, and running a business without phones, be sure that you know how to handle each situation.
Secure a generator. Keeping a reliable power source on hand is a safety precaution and a wise business move. If the power goes out, your business can rely on the generator to keep your business running – and turn a profit.
Keep everyone informed. Pay close attention to storm warnings, alerts, and updates. Have a plan to keep employees informed of office closures and further information. Now is the time to update and review your emergency plan, too.
Prepare for the worst. The fallout from winter storms can last for days and weeks. Because most small businesses can’t afford to be idle for that long, a business continuity plan is key. Ensure that this spells out how long you can keep your business afloat in the event of a disaster, how to communicate with vendors and clients, and how to set up temporary offices. You’ll also want to ensure that you know how to file insurance claims if your business has been badly hit.