By Vicky Lopez, Managing director, De-Ice

It is clear that deviation from normal weather can adversely affect the financial performance of most companies. Unforeseen or abnormal weather patterns, such a snow or ice have the potential to disrupt businesses in a number of sectors. However, 'bad' weather is no longer a sufficient excuse for volatile revenues, higher costs, a lack of staff in the office or disappointing earnings. Financial statements are awash with comments blaming poor performance on weather - this is increasingly less accepted by stakeholders.

Traditionally, companies were of the opinion that there is nothing they can do to combat the negative effects of the weather. For example, companies would accept that they wouldn't be open for business as their employees would be unable to get to work and therefore they would need to close their doors. As the founder of a company whose primary goal is to keep businesses open and operational during extreme snow and ice, my advice would be to plan ahead and plan for bad weather.

By working with a snow and gritting specialist, such as De-Ice you can have your winter gritting requirements agreed and ticked off the list well before the summer. Gritting companies are by nature only required in winter. Therefore, they have much time to plan ahead and prepare for bad weather. Instead of chasing their tails; they always plan ahead in order to be 100% ready to look after clients’ sites during extreme weather conditions. By signing up with your selected gritting contractor early in the season and for a fixed number of seasons, they can then plan the allocation of their resources, take advantage of cheaper salt prices in the summer and ensure that your company will be a safe zone and open for business whatever the weather. Leaving this until the last minute only creates added stress and higher cost to the client company.

My other advice would be to have a simple ‘unexpected circumstances’ plan in place which your employees know about. The plan should detail who does what, when and where if things go awry. If you are a sole trader, investigate the cost and location of shared working spaces for the interim period so you are able to keep working and keep your business open for business.

Volatile weather activity is on the increase, as is the awareness of the impact this can have on the financial performance of businesses. Although businesses cannot be expected to control the snow, employers will increasingly be expected to seek ways of managing that risk and ensuring that they are open for business. As a business owner, you need to keep a constant eye on the weather report and to make sure you’re well prepared to deal with potential disruption. It’s better to be safe than sorry.