IT’S official. January 2014 is going to be the wettest month in over a century, writes DCCI president Paul Collins.

The last 12 years have seen four of the wettest five years and it looks like the start to this year is going to be no exception.

Some parts of our region have been on constant flood warning since the start of the year, and this has certainly had a knock-on effect on some of our rural small business.

This weather is certainly having a diverse affect on many of our smaller roads.

Potholes are becoming a main concern for many of our motorists.

It was reported by the BBC last week that the Local Government Association will need some £400m in repair costs and they are appealing to Westminster for funds to cover the cost of road repairs.

From a business perspective, weather can have a significant impact on all our businesses, with regard to our bottom line, and as with most patterns of this type, bad times are usually balanced out with good times.

But in order to weather the storm during those bad times, business owners need to prepared for it.

This doesn’t just go for seasonal business either. Business of all kinds can be affected, even if indirectly, by both good and bad weather. The key is to know how.

What are your customers’ behaviours during certain weather conditions and/or time of year?

It’s a key question for all our business to ask, not just our tourism industry.

Retailers, restaurants and all types of business should now consider the impact of weather pattern on their customers’ purchasing habits in order to optimise sales.

But I expect there are many that will just say there is one thing business cannot control and that is the weather and just take it on the chin.

Before I finish, I have to congratulate Bournemouth Football Club in achieving the tie against Liverpool.

My predecessor Mike, who lives and breathes Bournemouth, would never forgive me for not mentioning them. It’s going to be a great match. Enjoy.