Small businesses are being encouraged to ensure they prepare for weather-related disruption this winter by drawing up continuity plans.
Following the coldest winter for three decades last year, forecasters are now predicting similarly harsh, snow-filled months ahead. For businesses, that could again mean hampered deliveries, power failures and widespread employee absenteeism.
Says The Forum of Private Business spokesman Phil McCabe: “I think it’s fair to say that last winter’s extreme weather conditions caught out many small business owners.
“We estimated that last winter’s snowfalls were costing smaller businesses across the UK around £230m each day at one point. Obviously, in the current climate, small firms can ill afford a similar expenditure this year so we’re urging business owners to think about their contingency plans now to ensure they aren’t put out of action by another icy winter.”
The forum has also launched a new business continuity service for its members, AssistPoint, which will allow them to continue trading through business disasters such as snow-related problems, floods, burglaries, fires and power cuts.
According to a YouGov poll, 58% of senior decision-makers at small businesses said their companies suffered as a result of the snow last winter, despite 78% believing their firms were sufficiently prepared.
Nationally, 74% of employees were affected by the snow, with 26% failing to get in to work at all. Twenty-one per cent of those surveyed found key suppliers and contacts unavailable and 26% had to postpone or cancel meetings.