How to deal with snow as a small business

Much as we love it, though, snow tends to be bad for business. Or does it? We asked our @smartaHQ Twitter followers how the snow is affecting their business - and though some are obviously struggling, we were surprised at how many are embracing the bad weather and turning it to their advantage:

@SimplyFone: Brilliant! As telephone providers maybe affected by reduced biz usages but more than offset by homestayers speaking & speaking...

@salessolutionuk: staff are running late but at least they are coming into work that's dedication for you! Thanks team

@MikeMIMO: Not being able to get to the bank with cheques isn't great - if only everyone would stick to bank transfers!

@TJVOX: It's given me the chance to catch up on a to-do list a mile long! Being snowed in isn't so bad after all! ;)

@Hannahbourne: family business @PerrywoodGarden sold 150 sledges in November for £9.99, the same one is selling for up to £39.99 on Amazon!

@JotaAviation: Yes it has! Planes and airports don't like snow!

@sharoncomrie: now 12 inches of snow & snowed in, can't get out to my meetings that are crucial to my business. On the up side catching up with accounts

@SuzanneEdge: I work from home, people out walking in the #uksnow rather than driving are "remembering" to pop in - so I'm quite busy actually!

So, yes, every time a few frozen flakes float down every news publication in a sub-zero region will inevitably go on about how many millions will be lost nationwide as commuters aren't able to make it into the office, how meetings have been missed, how parents have to stay at home looking after their snowed-in kids rather than contributing to the national economy.

But we like the positivity of all of you real business owners, who are ever-ready to make the best of a bad situation. It reminds us of this article from the BBC that argues, actually, all that lost business will be regained in the non-snow days to come. After all, a meeting will get rebooked, an appointment will be remade if the customer needed the service in the first place, and items that needed to be bought will still be bought. (Although of course, as the article concedes, this logic doesn't apply as neatly to the likes of lunch spots and cafes, which tend to draw in customers more impulsively and will suffer.)

The article grounds the slightly scare-mongery stats bandied around by the likes of the Federation of Small Business, which estimated a loss of £1.2bn revenue in the UK due to staff not making it to the office during February 2009's snow days.

We know today will still be a huge frustration for many of you - but, if you are battling the snow, follow the example of those business owners who told us on Twitter they're using today to their advantage, and make the best of a bad situation:

  • Get staff working remotely rather than making them struggle with three hours commutes (which will keep everyone happier).
  • Rearrange meetings first thing rather than trekking for hours and arriving wet and red in the face.
  • Start planning now how you will recoup any lost revenues when the weather clears up.
  • Learn from the example of Pizza Express and actively capitalise on the snow - the restaurant chain is offering special meal deals to customers who have made it into work. Could you offer telephone consultations to those who are house-bound? Discounted rates to those who make it to your premises? Could you encourage people to buy on your website as they won't be making it to the shop?
  • Use today to help foster team relations. Give everyone a day off, or give them a half day working from home rather than making them brave the snow.
  • Use a day out from meetings to catch up on those stacks of paperwork you've been putting off for weeks.
  • Finally, if all else fails, get out there with your mittens on and indulge your inner seven-year-old. Having a snowball fight might not win you new business today, but it will almost certainly cheer you up.

Got more ideas for how small businesses can make the most of a bad snow day? We'd love you to share them with other readers below.

We use cookies to create the most secure and effective website possible for our customers. Full details can be found here