As the famous slogan of the famous HBO series "Game of Thrones" warns: "The winter is coming".
The first snow has already fallen in the Midwest and predictions suggest more severe winter storms this year in parts of the country.
Forecasters have been wrong before, but can you take the risk? It may be time to start preparing your small business for a potentially disastrous winter storm season – just in case.
Preparing your business for a winter disaster
Here are five things your small business should do now to prepare for a winter disaster.
Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy
The first step is to review your insurance coverage. Secure a copy of your policy for your records if you do not have one. Small Business Trends has been talking with Andy Wood, Senior Vice President of Retail Operations at Insureon, to determine what needs to be done.
"At a minimum, you need to know what the policy number and claim number are in the event of a claim," says Wood. "You should also have an idea of what your limits and franchises are."
See the cover of interruptions of activity
Insurance that protects your building and equipment is one thing. However, you must make sure that you can get money to cover your expenses if your business activities are interrupted.
If your policy offers protection against business interruptions, Wood suggests you look at the elimination period involved. This is the time that your business will need to cover its expenses before any insurance comes into play.
Inventory of valuable equipment
It goes without saying that you want to be able to tell your insurance company what you lost during a winter disaster. The photos of the equipment stored on your smartphone are good. Even taking pictures of the outside of your business is a good way to make sure you have pictures of your building before and after any damage.
Having an emergency plan
An emergency plan can be developed or simple, but you must have one. You plan to include details such as the location of a temporary store after a disaster. Another consideration might be where your employees can work if a disaster strikes in order to continue their operations.
Wood explains why a plan is so important.
"Often businesses like retail and restaurants can not do anything," he says. "However, you can limit the impact by staying in touch with customers and telling them that you are not open right now."
Wood adds that you should also consider the possibility of having employees work at home.
Protecting against the cold
Some of the best things you can do to prepare your business for a winter disaster are proactive and physical. The proper coating of any exposed piping will prevent the bursting of the pipes and will damage the water when the thermometer plunges.
If you have a business in a remote location, it's a good idea to have a backup generator. Protecting power outages this way can prevent a small restaurant from losing everything that it keeps in a freezer.
Photo of a winter disaster via Shutterstock