EXTREME weather conditions can challenge business revenues, costs and profits. Yet, while businesses cannot control the weather, they can mitigate its financial impact.
Weather volatility is increasing significant. Insurers have the evidence, with bills that show damages from weather-related natural catastrophes rising rapidly. Many of our local business areas are vulnerable to variance in weather patterns, including extreme rains, heat waves, cold snaps, droughts and, of course, floods – some of the many weather conditions that are impacting how people live, what they buy, where they go and how their business performs.
Failing to prepare for extreme weather events has cost billions but investment in weather preparations could cost local governments significantly less than the recovery cost – all at a time when councils are increasingly hard-pressed. We debate who is going to pick up the cost for the destruction of our coastal defences and the damage to our sea fronts, but it is essential that those repairs are made and made quickly, particularly in our coastal towns, where the tourism trade is so important to small business and the communities they serve.
For our business community it is not just a case of clearing up the mess and calling the insurance companies in. There may be questions of how to deal with customers’ bookings and how to replace damaged stock and equipment, as well as a plethora of issues that will make these times so hard for those that have been hit.
However, if there is one thing we know about small businesses it is that they are incredibly resilient. Small business owners and workers will pull out all the stops to get their enterprises back on track. Without cafes, pubs, hotels and other small businesses our coastal communities would be all the poorer.
One would hope that repairs could be completed ahead of the Easter holidays and by the start of the all-important summer holiday period at the very latest. I am sure that those who have been fortune enough not to have been affected by the storms will have tremendous sympathy for those who have seen their businesses hit by the severe weather. We only have to think how we would feel if we were in a similar position to have an idea of what some of those companies are going through.