Top 5 Ways to Prepare Your Small Business for an Extreme Snowstorm

In many areas, winter storms are a scary reality for small businesses. With limited resources and so many unknowns, taking steps toward adequate preparation can feel overwhelming. But there are a few great reasons to invest your time, energy and funds into getting your business ready for an extreme snowstorm.

First, preparation can save your business money by helping prevent structural damage, loss of revenue from unnecessary closures during repairs, and costly liability suits from preventable accidents. But also, an extreme snowstorm could actually be a boon to your business if you're prepared, as you may be the only shop open in town!

To make sure your small business is ready to take on the worst winter storms, follow these five tips:

1. Prepare your office building.
Extreme winter storms can cause expensive structural damage to your building. The most common culprits are frozen pipes that burst and melting water that seeps indoors — so be sure to check your building carefully for drafts, leaks and cracks, especially on your roof and around doors and windows. Clear out and shut off outdoor plumbing so remaining liquid doesn't freeze and break your pipes, and replace old weather stripping at the bottoms of doors to hold off melting snow that piles up outside.

2. Make a plan for snow and ice removal.
Whether it's a removal service or close friends on speed dial, have a plan in place to get rid of the snow and ice that accumulate on your building and surrounding property. Snow and ice don't just cause structural damage and limit customers' access to your business if you're able to stay open — they are also a major safety hazard that could result in expensive liability claims.

3. Have your business equipped with a generator.
Keeping a reliable power source on hand is both a safety precaution and a wise business move, as it can keep your company running — and turning a profit — even if electricity is shut off.

4. Keep a detailed inventory.
Take photos of your building and all its contents and store them in a safe place, and keep detailed records of all equipment and assets. This will make replacement far easier if anything is damaged or destroyed in a storm.

5. Keep everyone in the know.
Pay close attention to storm warnings, alerts and updates, and have a plan in place to keep employees informed. Evaluate, update and review your emergency plan, including evacuation routes and communication to employees.

A small investment in winter storm preparation for your small business can pay huge dividends when a blizzard hits. Following these tips will help position your company to “weather the storm” without a hitch.