Flood Can Be A Major Risk To Small Businesses

shop flooded

It is nice to live life without worrying about all the nasty things that could potentially happen to your business. But it’s also wise to give them a passing thought at some point, and put some kind of protection or recovery plan in place. Then allow yourself proper peace of mind instead of just that nervous sense of pretending it will never happen so long as you don’t think about it 🙂

Flood doesn’t just mean tsunami or the river bursting it’s banks. Yes, those are real risks to some businesses depending on their geographic locations. There is a risk to every business though simply because water is all around is in pipes and sewerage systems. Even if your premises or office doesn’t have any plumbing, it’s very likely the building around you does. Or your neighbors do. Or the water main runs past your front door under the street.

A burst pipe can cause horrendous damage just in one night and stop your business in it’s tracks. Whereas a slow hidden leak can be even worse – once discovered major damage has normally already happened, which can mean rotten floorboards and even structurally compromising damage.

It doesn’t even have to be plumbing related. Torrential rain can find it’s way through weak points in the roof or windows, and you can arrive at your office or shop one morning to find a small lake on the floor and seriously damaged equipment or stock.

All of which is doom and gloom. But it’s easy to just accept the potential, and make a plan.

Firstly, have a disaster recover plan in place. It can be the same plan for fire, flood, earthquake or whatever. Just add in contact details for a couple of local flood damage clean up companies, and you’ll be good to go. The sooner you can get the professionals in to clean up the mess, the sooner you’ll be back up and trading again.

Also include in your plan details of exactly where all the shut off valves are for the water supply. Because the sooner you can cut off a leak, the less damage there is going to be. And make sure the shut off valves/taps are accessible – it wouldn’t be the first time I’d seen the access behind a locked door, padlocked access panel or even sealed shut behind tiling! Make sure you know where they are now, that you can access them, that they actually do shut off what you think they shut off and that they work. They should NOT require extra tools, or superhuman strength to turn them – because the only person on site at the time may not be superhuman strong.

That’s one line of defence.

You may also want to consider flood insurance too. Depending on where your business is, and the associated risks, this may be either perfectly affordable or simply impossible due to the level of risk. It’s worth investigating however. You may think your standard insurance policy covers flooding – I would recommend reading it closely or having that conversation with your insurer. It’s likely the cover is not nearly as extensive as you think. It may also not provide any cover for the loss of trade during the time the damage is being cleaned up or repairs made to your building. It may also not cover stock, or equipment damage to the extent that you would expect.

The Small Business Administration has more information on coping with disaster recovery, including disaster cleanup. They also open up flood recovery centres as and when required to help local businesses get back on their feet (most recently in Kanawha and Greenbrier counties).

Create A Facebook Page For Your Local Business In Just Minutes

facebookpageSetting up a Facebook page for a local business is very easy to do. Do you have a business email address? If not, you really need one anyway, but you can also use a separate personal email address to sign up for a business Facebook account. Everything is pretty much going to work the same way it would as if you signed up for a personal account, but you’ll feel restricted if you’ve been a personal Facebook user.

You see, as a business user, you can’t access everyone else’s profiles the same way you could as a personal user. This is just a slight difference you’ll notice, but of course it doesn’t matter because this business Facebook page has nothing to do with personal use of the social media site. Now, while it’s pretty much the same process, I’m going to give you some steps to follow.

It’s really only going to take just a few minutes to do this – just head over to here to start creating your own page. The first thing you have to do is to choose your business category once you click on the arrow to create a business Facebook page. You’re going to be asked to provide information related to your business, including a business description and site URL. You might not have a site URL yet, and while you aren’t required to have one for the Facebook page, you’re going to want one later for other reasons.

Next up is your chance to add a profile picture, and then of course you’re going to have a chance to start an advertising campaign. You might want to do this just for your page in general, but you need to know a few things about Facebook marketing before you pay money for a campaign. After you have saved your Facebook business page, you’re ready to start posting and improving your page.

This is probably the most important step in starting your social media campaign for you small business, but there are of course more places that your customers are interacting than just Facebook. Get the hang of Facebook pages first though and you’ll be good to go on other platforms.

Tips For Small Businesses Engaging Customers Via Social Media

socialmediaSmall businesses must recognize how important social media is to their ongoing success if they want to stay competitive. When social media was first introduced, it was more for personal use and younger consumers. Of course, anytime people start using a particular platform in large numbers, the advertisers are going to find them. Big companies started taking advantage of social media first, but in this day and age, small businesses are greatly missing out if they don’t follow suit.

If you don’t have a social media presence, your business is going to look boring to millennials. All joking aside, social media provides businesses with many advantages to help get people in the door. If you’re not using multiple social media platforms, then you’re allowing your competition to have the advantage. Why would you want to do that?

Simply signing up for social media by the way is something that any business can do. If you do that and fail to establish a strong presence and good communication with your targeted customers online, then you are better off not engaging with them on social media at all. In other words, don’t just make the move but get excited about it.

How is your brand unique? What can your company do for customers that others can’t do? This is what you want to get out there on social media sites as a small business. You also have to remember that not every post you’re making is going to be about making money. You’re trying to inform customers and communicate with them, not bang them over the head with sales techniques.

That being said, think about how you can engage your customers uniquely via different social media platforms. If you come up with something catchy, you can be rest assured your business is going to get attention. Think about how you can promote special offers and deals much easier by using the various social media tools as well.

And if it all feels a bit much like hard work – talk to your website managers to see if they offer social media management services. It’s better done in your voice, but it’s also better done than just permanent something you really must get around to.

Finding a Web Designer For Local Businesses

webdesignEvery local business should have their own website, but more so than that, they should also have their own webmaster. A decently talented web designer can bring the company website alive and make it a tool that can be far more than just a business card, it can bring in sales and new customers too.

Most small business websites that are in existence today fall far short of that goal. Of course it is very helpful if you can get ranked at the top of the search engines, but there are other aspects of getting your website to go to work for you.

Gone are the days where you could hire your neighbor’s teenage son and have him slap together a nice website. The entire process has become far more important than that, the online presence for your business deserves more tender loving care than the neighbor’s son can give inbetween playing Call Of Duty. It’s shocking but as much as 60% of small businesses have no website presence at all let alone a poor one.

Start by interviewing several local web design companies and have them show you real results. Just about anybody can make a nice looking website, but it has to work for you along with social media and directory placement as well, and this takes a professional to get the job done properly.

Have the prospective web companies show you from scratch how they have already achieved results for their clients. In other words, have them type in some of the key words that work for the client and have the company show you that this resulted in a high ranking. Just don’t be fooled by high rankings for keywords that nobody searches for – get them to prove that real people look for those terms too.

Also, you will want to see the results of their clients Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and how these tie back to the business’s website. It all ties in to your overall web strategy. When you see how all of these results fit together then you can justify paying their high fees, just make it very clear that it’s results you care about not just a pretty website. Then you can simply concentrate on getting ready to service all of those new customers these efforts are going to bring into your business.