Free daily tips, info, advice for small business
from personal experiences starting, operating, and growing my own.
Your small business can be struck by a disaster you don't see coming. Fire, flood, wind, blackouts and robbers can shut you down--whether you have a shop or an office or work at home.
Bakeries, gift shops, law offices, landscapers, salons, repair shops, therapists, restaurants, caterers and every other business can suddenly have a disaster on their hands. Every business person deserves to have thought about the possibility ahead of time--and planned for it.
Example: Jill runs a gift shop located on the Main Street in her town. The river is blocks away, but it flooded one night in early November. With little warning, Jill rushed to her shop to get things off the floor as water began seeping in. The next day, she sloshed her way through several inches of muddy water to survey the damage. Everything the water touched was ruined, and it took two weeks to clean up the mess. Customers and townspeople were generous with their time helping Jill get the gift shop back in operation for at least part of the holiday shopping season. Jill had flood insurance which paid for much of the clean-up, ruined stock and fixtures. But she had no loss-of-business insurance, and holiday shoppers had to put up with flooring contractors and sheet rock installers.
Make sure you plan ahead of time for all of the disaster contingencies.
Example: Phil had a different problem. He runs a small auto repair shop, but he had to close operations and lost some repair jobs when the electric went down. There was no power for three days. Phil quickly installed a generator to supply power to part of the shop, and he made arrangements for a bigger, more powerful generator to be on hand in case of future power outages. Some customers were understanding, others not--they moved on.
There's no getting back repair jobs lost when the doors are shut.
Example: Diane runs a small neighborhood convenience store. After she was robbed twice, she decided that she had to defend herself. She bought a handgun, went through proper licensing and training, and now keeps the firearm handy. She hasn't shot anyone yet, but she has sent a knife-wielding robber on his way when she pointed the firearm at him. In the past, Diane was terrified of guns, but today she has the means to defend herself. And she is much more confident when she's in the store alone.
These types of emergencies are not unusual in small business. You don't need a river to produce a flood--a heavy downpour can cause seepage under the doorways and leave you standing in water. There's no forewarning for a power outage--and it can last a few minutes or a few days. And, unfortunately, a robber can show up at any time.
Be prepared. It's the scout's motto, and they got it right.
You need to give some thought to these types of problems. They can, and do, happen. With a little preparation, you and your business can ride out almost anything. (Other examples are scattered throughout these write-ups.)