The recent adverse weather conditions hit some UK businesses hard. Lost revenues were experienced by many through lost customer focus, difficult trading conditions, staff shortages, and the inability to collect/deliver products.
With climate change continuing to dominate headlines and the expectation of further “freak” weather conditions, should business owners seriously consider how to weatherproof their business in the future to minimise the risk?
If so, how is this to be achieved?
Of course, adverse weather may be a blessing for some business’ due to the nature of goods they sell. At times like this, they must be able to respond quickly enough to maximise the fortuitous conditions. However, when the opportunity presents itself, are they able to deliver on time?
Whilst the UK finally seems to moving into spring and warmer conditions, let’s not lose sight of the recent difficulties and the challenges they presented. They could easily be forgotten as business owners seek ways of making up lost ground due to lower revenues. Whilst this is understood, a working party should be formed to highlight the key performing areas and how they were impacted with the inclement weather. Do it now whilst memories are fresh.
How to weatherproof businesses?
It’s unrealistic to expect business owners to agree to make significant changes on the basis that this freak weather may return next year. However, if it does, and you haven’t taken any action, then it will cost you. Let’s discover what can be done and you be the judge whether you fund such changes to your business.
1. Fleet cars
All businesses with a fleet can insist on a winter tyre policy, or consider snow chains depending on their location. Being able to transport goods may be imperative in certain industries. Unless roads are impassable, it is ridiculous to think that transporting goods is halted because vehicles are unable to cope with weather conditions.
No matter where your premises are and what condition, there are always areas of improvement. Are boilers old and possibly in need of replacing? Is the roof in good condition? Are there difficult turning conditions in your car park which are made impossible in poor weather conditions? Which areas caused the greatest problems for visiting customers in the recent conditions? Can you improve these areas so customers will continue to visit?
2. Staff absence
Of course, one of the biggest difficulties for some businesses was staff absence as they were unable to commute to work. Is there a way technology can ensure these people can work from home? Whilst this opens up the discussion on data protection, there are ways in which this can be handled well, ensuring both the business and the member of staff are protected.
For some businesses, the ability to connect staff via an online portal is key to continuity of service. This works brilliantly in customer service or sales positions, or the implementation of certain services rather than delivery of physical products. Meetings can take place from secured sites such as Skype or Zoom which therefore ensures that no meeting is cancelled due to inclement weather. Whilst mentioning this topic, it is important to recognise that the business should supply either a laptop, PC or smartphone to ensure calls are made and data stays within the business rather than on an employee’s equipment.
For businesses that may benefit from severe weather conditions, the important aspects here are being able to market your products fast to your customer base and prospects too. Your marketing approach for the year should be focused on gathering names and relevant data and build a warm rapport, ready for the big sales approach as and when required. This doesn’t mean you don’t try and sell if the weather isn’t too good, but you must be ready to sell those goods your customers will need when the time arises. Then, you must be in a position to deliver these goods quickly or you will lose the sale. With physical goods, an in-house transport may be required as third-party transport companies cannot guarantee collection or delivery.
For some businesses, all of the above points may be relevant and potentially life-saving to the business if the trend towards annual freak weather conditions persists. It may be wise to take a view and implement on an idea this year which may solve the biggest challenge you recently experienced. Additional action plans may be implemented annually to further reduce the risk to your business.
Of course, the above list could be extended and I have covered the main issues although you may consider other ideas as great priority. Whatever you choose, just remember the recent difficulties your business experienced. A wise man will only lose money once in times of severe weather conditions and then take steps to reduce the risk(s) to their business the following year. I hope you’re one of them.
It’s ridiculous to think that the UK is unable to cope with such weather, virtually grinding to a halt, whereas other countries in Europe can continue with a business-as-usual approach.