Winter is fast approaching: bringing with it all sorts of problems for your small business.
We’ve created this pre-winter checklist, to help you make all of the preparations you need to survive the winter and carry your business into the New Year. Whether you’re concerned about the potential dip in business or the physical effects of the season, we’re sure this guide will help you to stay afloat.
Changing your tactics
Having one business plan to serve you throughout the year doesn’t make much sense.
Christmas can be a hard time of year for a lot of small businesses. On the other hand, if you’re operating in the retail sector, this could be your most lucrative period. Either way, continuing to use the same business plan from earlier in the year isn’t going to produce very good results.
If you’re predicting a drop in business, consider extra marketing and advertising to bring in more revenue. Or use this quiet period to improve your business by sourcing new products, updating your website and giving things a general tidy up.
Alternatively, if you’re expecting increased sales, recruit temporary employees to help you cope with the added workload. This is a great idea, but it’s important that you have adequate time to teach them about the workings of your business before things really pick up.
If you’re reading this from the UK and you’re unsure about the rules around hiring temps, take a look at these guidelines from HM Revenue and Customs.
Working from home
We’ve all experienced winter weather that’s severe enough to prevent us from reaching the office on time. In some cases, snow and ice make it a hazard to leave the house at all.
At times like this, it’s important that you have a plan to make sure your business doesn’t grind to a halt – like the traffic on the motorway! Make a contingency plan for situations when employees can’t reach the office so that everyone can work from home.
The most important thing is to make sure everyone can access what they need to get the job done. Services like Dropbox for Business allow multiple users to share files and data, without being in the same location. This means that it’s possible to get your hands on important information from your home computer – without taking off your fluffy winter slippers!
Your business premises
Winter weather can have a massive impact on the finances of a small business. We’ve already discussed how bad weather can cause a slump in sales and prevent you from getting on with your job; but it’s also important to prepare your business for the physical effects of winter.
Your business premises are crucial to the daily operation of your company. If any of thembecome damaged by severe winter weather, you’ll be forced to pay for expensive repairs and potentially lose out on business while they’rebeing carried out. If you own your premises, consider installing exterior cladding before the bad weather sets in. Companies such as Sotech offer a range of cladding systems, which offer effective protection from bad weather. Their services also include installation of aluminium gutters; these are much stronger than traditional plastic guttersand are able to bear the additional weight of snow. Budgeting for these additions will save you money on repairs – and a massive headache – in the long run.
You’ll also need to consider the comfort of your workers and ensure that your premises have adequate heating to make it through the winter. A cold office is going to send productivity levels through the floor, so it’s in your interest to keep the environment warm and comfortable.