When you come right down to it, you run your business to make a living, as do those of us here at Direct Capital. If your business is closed, you don’t earn money, you take a hit on your bottom line and everything is a little less pleasant for you.
So you’re probably looking at the hurricane with some trepidation. The worst of it is likely blowing by you as you read this, but the lingering effects of the storm could hang on until the end of the week. That means likely power outages, possible flooding, snowstorms, freezing rain and a host of other not-so-fun side effects that could have you considering closing your business.
We’re no meteorologists or disaster experts, but I did spend almost four years as a journalist and had the opportunity to warn the communities I covered about the ice storm of 2008 here in New England and the tornado that rolled through New Hampshire, among other major events. What I’ve learned from those experiences is that you need to carefully weigh your options, but that your safety and the safety of your employees should always win out.
Let me give you a couple of examples of what I learned to help you decide whether you should shut your doors for the next couple of days:
- Pay attention to the roads. During the ice storm, the town of Kittery, Maine, was basically all but impassable. Residents of the beautiful coastal roads were shut off from the world thanks to a few huge pine trees that came crashing to the ground and shut off access. Emergency crews had to work for days to clear them out.If you’re a business providing food, gasoline and other essentials to the community and you can make it safely to your store or office, do your best to stay open. You’ll do huge sales, but more importantly, you’ll be helping the community out in an hour of need. The goodwill you’ll receive for that is huge, and you can literally help to save lives. I know many thoughtful business owners who stayed open through the storm and helped thousands.
- If you serve a non-essential function for the community, close your doors. It’s not worth keeping your accounting offices open when there will be nobody risking life and limb to come have you check over their paperwork. There’s no business anyways, so shut it down.
- If you’re seriously concerned about your ability to make it to work safely, or to get your employees there, close and immediately notify everyone who’s scheduled to work that way. Ultimately, a day or two of no sales hurts your sales forecast, but your sales forecast does you no good if you’re injured or dead, to be blunt. Businesses that place profit ahead of well-being are the worst kinds of businesses.
If you have power, let us know your plans for the next couple of days. Stay safe out there.
Photo credit to iStock