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Snow Day Survival for Your Business

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Do you remember when you were a kid and used to get really excited about the prospect of snow? You dreamed of school cancellations, playing outside on your sled with your friends for hours, and returning inside to add a thick layer of marshmallows to a cup of steaming hot cocoa? That was before you had your own business and the idea of shutting it down for anytime at all makes you quiver.

Whether it’s snow, frigid cold, flood waters, hurricanes, or hail – if you’re prepared for the interruption, your business will “weather” it just fine.

Have an Inclement Weather Plan

The best time to determine how you will run your business during inclement weather is when the weather isn’t a factor at all. Things to consider in your plan:

  • Is it possible to run the business completely at home? If you have employees, are key files located on the cloud so everyone can access them?
  • If you have a brick-and-mortar business, are you or are any of your employees close enough to the location to get there even if the roads are bad?
  • If you’re the one making the call to open, close, or modify the business’ hours, where will you gather the information to make that decision? Will you rely on a weather forecast, reports from local law enforcement, or follow the lead of larger businesses in the area?
  • If you close due to inclement weather, will your employees be paid as if you were open? Will they have to make up the hours when it’s business as usual?

Communications Plan

Once you’ve worked your way through your plan and have come up with an inclement weather plan, how will you let everyone know?

  • If you have employees, let them know to expect updates through whichever avenue you’ll be using – which could be email, group text messaging, or a phone call. 
  • If you’ll need to let customers or clients know, make sure you have the tools available to provide updates through multiple channels. Think email blasts, social media updates, a banner across the front of your website, and possibly a group text message if you have collected that data. You’ll probably also want to update the message on the business phone line as needed for anyone who might be calling to find out if the weather has impacted your business.

Wintry Weather Removal

If your business is housed in a building that people visit, you need to know how snow and ice will be removed from the parking area, sidewalks, and entry.

  • If you lease the space, the landlord may be responsible for snow and ice removal. Even then it’s a good idea to have some kind of ice melting product on hand. You want to put safety first when it comes to your employees and your customers.
  • And know what you’re going to do if customers drag melting snow and ice and chemical melters into your space on their shoes and outerwear. Winter can be messy, and you don’t want to ruin the first impression of your business.

Customer Specials

Whether you open late, close early, or shut down for the day, sales will suffer. Even if you don’t revise the hours at all, inclement weather may keep customers away. You could consider offering snow day specials to shoppers who are making their purchases online or to the hardy souls who have ventured out in person to visit your business.

If you decide to go with free shipping, or a dollar off for each inch of snow, or a discount percentage based on the high or low temperature, you’ve got to be able to let people know. This takes you right back to your Communication Plan and the ability to reach out to your customer base whether you’re in the shop or at home in front of a roaring fire.

The weather is unpredictable, so get out in front of it by creating your own Snow Day Survival Plan. When the forecast calls for inclement weather you may not be looking forward to it like a school kid with a brand new sled, but you’ll rest easier knowing that your business can weather any storm.

Do you have an existing snow day survival plan in place? Share it with us in the comment section below.

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Kabbage Team

The Kabbage Team is here to not only fund the small business loans you need, but to help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.

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