Here in Northwest Indiana and in many other places around the country, we’ve been dealing with very difficult arctic weather conditions that have caused major disruptions in our personal and business lives.
We have no power over these forces of nature, but we do have power over how we react to them and, more importantly, how we will get through future disruptions with fewer problems if we develop contingency plans well in advance.
Some businesses have been seriously affected:
- Time sensitive commitments and shipments have been delayed
- Staff can’t get in to work or are delayed by closed Interstate highways and dangerous driving conditions
- Even if the staff can get in to work, customers don’t come in for the same reasons
- Utility costs go up because of the cold impacting profits
This is neither the first time nor the last time we will have serious business disruption because of weather – there will be heat waves, drought, hurricanes, tornadoes and tons of snow again. You can either do no preparation and be surprised again or have contingency plans in place that become active when the inevitable happens again.
There two important questions that need to be answered:
1. How does a business minimize the negative effect and better position itself to thrive when temperatures rise and all the snow melts?
2. What can you do to be better prepared when the next weather disaster hits your business?
Some important decisions should be decided in advance:
- What constitutes a weather emergency for your business?
- What happens when you declare a weather emergency?
- How will you notify customers and staff of your weather emergency policies?
- What will you do to reduce work backlogs and return to normal quickly?
No matter the issue, businesses that are better prepared to deal with emergency situations are usually far less affected than those that react in confusion and panic. Assess your reaction to the current storm related problems and plan your moves now so you will be better prepared for next time. You will get through it much better.