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Winter storm coming to Hampton Roads - ordeal or opportunity?

Learn how to turn an approaching storm from a negative ordeal into a positive opportunity for your business.
Learn how to turn an approaching storm from a negative ordeal into a positive opportunity for your business.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A winter storm warning has been issued for Hampton Roads and already the local authorities are jumping into action. VDOT has been treating roads since Monday, the Chesapeake and Virginia Beach Public School systems have cancelled evening activities, and the local news stations are geared up to provide frequent weather and traffic updates to residents.
As a small business owner, your first inclination may be to inwardly groan at the havoc that 2-5 inches of snow will create for you; snow removal, slippery floors, higher heat bills, late and absent employees, bursting pipes... However, the seasoned entrepreneur knows that distinguishing your business among your competitors will require treating this ordeal as an opportunity.

1. First and foremost, you need to take stock of your own emergency preparedness and ability to make decisions that will in the long run be best for your employees, customers, and business. A lack of preparation can lead to knee-jerk decisions which can damage if not cripple your business.
2. Now is a great time to test your management staff to see if they are knowledgeable of the steps that need to be taken to prepare the business prior to the first snowfall, to operate during the storm, and to make necessary decisions along the way. If something happens to you, will your business crumble, or have you properly trained the right people to keep the doors open?
3. Finally, what unconventional methods, menu items, or services could you add to your business in the short term that would delight customers and cause them to remember you and tell everyone about you over the next 24-48 hours? Happy hour prices while the snow falls, Polar Vortex martinis or panini’s, conveniently stocked storm items near the front door or check-outs?

Don’t let a few flurries snowball your business. Use the opportunity to make your business better today and long into the future.