Business comes with many risks. It is a gamble between loss and profit. Aside from unmatched business skills, resources, and customers, a business owner should be worried about the business’ safety under any weather condition.
Most often than not, extreme weather conditions can put a business into a pinch. May it be a harsh snowstorm, flooding, or hurricane, the damages can be unfathomable. Depending on the injury, the company might be forced to close or get business insurance next time.
However, preparation is the sensible step. A business owner must not wait for bad weather to strike. To ensure the safety of the business goods, prepare the contingency plans and items such as a shipping container lock, a sealed compartment for essential documents, and a work-from-home layout of employees.
How Can You Protect Your Business Goods?
For extensive preparation, here are more tips!
- Identify The Risks
First and foremost, to protect the business products, one must know what the weather condition will be. It will be counterproductive to prepare but for the direst of situations. The preparation must be aligned with the extreme weather conditions in the area where the business is located. The most common weather conditions with their corresponding safety protocols are as follows:
High Winds: This weather can cause many problems for any business, especially in terms of exterior fixtures. It can unfasten the roof, bust the gutters, and even cause problems with moisture. Any type of damage can cost a lot of money and time.
The best way to protect a business from any weather-related damage is to make sure everything on the premises is as secure as it can be. Look out for the following:
- Ensure all roof tiles are safe and any loose ones are replaced.
- Ensure all gutters are correctly attached, and blockages are cleared.
- Keep all external doors, windows and gates securely locked.
- Secure all fences around the area and fence posts. Remove all outdoor furniture and displays.
If high winds have been predicted in the area:
- Park company vehicles in a safe area like a parking lot higher than ground level.
- Remove loose things at the storefront and put them inside the business premises temporarily. Examples are signages, metal benches, and alfresco shades.
To protect the business from snow and ice, do the following:
- Ensure that pipes are covered and made waterproof, especially in unheated areas like the attic or basement.
- Clear any outside paths of obstacles and place all outdoor seats and potted plants away.
- Remember where the internal stop tap is to turn off the water supply to the business building during an emergency.
- Ensure that any outside drains are unblocked.
For unpredictable weather, here are some things to consider as part of your business contingency plan.
Short-term Flood Planning:
- Check the local environment agency’s website and see if there are flood warnings in the area. It’s also worth observing the live flood warning map. After doing so, one should immediately start planning for the worst.
- Make a list of significant phone numbers such as customers, employees, and business suppliers for electricity and gas.
- Use sandbags as blockage in any areas where water could enter your business premises.
- If possible, move anything critical to the running of the business, such as stocks, servers, computer equipment, and boxes of significant numbers, to an upstairs room or as high off the ground as possible.
- In anticipation of flooding, remove the appliances from their outlets. Switch off electricity.
- Don’t allow entry in places with standing water since electricity there might still be on.
Long-term Flood Planning:
- Consider using tiles instead of carpet.
- Put blockages on areas where water can seep in.
- Re-map electrical sockets and place them higher onto the walls.
- Cover the walls with plaster. Use waterproof lime.
- Hire a contractor to damp-proof your walls.
- Allot time for drainage maintenance checks.
- Identify Critical Functions
Businesses have many different functions. A restaurant is to food and a hospital is to healthcare. In case of severe weather conditions, identify the essential parts to keep the business operational.
Consider the safety preparation of products and services, communication with customers, payment methods, and payment orders. Other secondary functions like advertisement and promotional gimmicks are the least of the business owners’ concerns.
- Determine The Disaster’s Effects
After identifying the critical functions of the business, consider the effects of unprecedented damages caused by extreme weather conditions. There will be two possible outcomes: loss of sales and loss of customers.
For instance, a restaurant can’t serve food during a storm, resulting in loss of sales. In a long-term scenario, the restaurant would lose customers since they couldn’t serve food while other businesses kept operating despite the terrible weather conditions.
- Draft Contingency Plans
This is the part wherein business owners can avoid impending doom. To secure the business, along with its goods and people, always confirm an emergency plan. This encompasses not just the area where the company is located but also the key customers and suppliers.
For example, if the location of one of the essential suppliers will be hit with extreme weather conditions, start looking for alternative means or substitute suppliers from other places.
- Protect The Workforce
Aside from the business goods, the business employees are also essentials who must be secured before anything. No business can function without them.
The employees’ safety can be guaranteed by developing evacuation plans and provision for safety tools such as flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies, food and water. Conduct an emergency drill with the employees and post an emergency organization chart. This will aid the employees in knowing who will lead, which way to go, what to do, and where to go.
- Secure The Data
Never forget the necessary documents. In the worst-case scenario, electronics will be damaged. Therefore, ensure that files and sensitive information such as financial accounting data, corporate documents, customer contracts, inventory, and human resources records are all digitized and secured in cloud storage. This is the best countermeasure if anything happens to the hard copies.
- Keep In Touch
Communication is essential in any type of emergency. To keep in touch with the employees and suppliers, create a list. This will contain their contact information. In case anything happens, updates will be way easier. Also, extreme weather conditions can knock out phone lines. Make sure the employees and suppliers can be contacted through different channels.
- Create An Alternative Business Layout
If by any chance the weather conditions will hinder the business in its regular operations, figure out whether the employees can work from home, rent a co-working space, or if there is another sublet from another business. Moreover, develop a remote work protocol and make sure each employee has the necessary equipment, software, and access.
Business is a risky game indeed. There is no telling what will come to strike it down. However, nothing beats preparation and readiness. A well-planned business led by a capable team can withstand any debacle.
Aside from creating contingency plans to protect the business goods, make sure to get business insurance. This is the safety net that will allow the business to keep running even after taking damages. As a business, you must plan, act, and serve.
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