Each of the four seasons is unique in its own way. In spring, the weather starts warming up, flowers start blooming, and baseball season begins. During summer, temperatures peak, trees and plants have full leaves, people take vacations, and the daylight lasts longer. As we move into fall, the leaves change color and fall off the trees, and football season begins. Finally, the onset of winter brings much colder weather across the United States, and animals begin to hibernate. While these and other changes associated with the four seasons of the year are something to look forward to and enjoy, they can also wreak havoc on your small business. Extreme weather conditions such as snow storms, blizzards, strong winds, ice storms, heavy rainfall, and excessive heat can damage your office, disrupt your sales, and lead to financial distress. Taking preventative actions now can help you keep your cash flow intact, and prevent costly problems down the road. This Balboa Capital blog post has some helpful tips on how to prepare your small business for bad weather.

Check your property for potential problems.

If you own a home, you know how important it is to keep everything up-to-date and in good working condition. The same goes for your commercial property. Checking for potential problems probably isn’t on your “to-do” list, but it needs to be. Have a building inspector or a dependable contractor conduct a thorough inspection of your office once a year to look for things like clogged roof drains, exterior wall cracks, and HVAC problems. If there are large trees that could come into contact with your office as a result of wind, rain, or snow, you should have them trimmed by a professional landscaper.

Protect your inventory.

Automobiles, commercial vehicles, and construction trucks are typically stored outdoors, or in a freestanding facility. If your company’s inventory is stored outdoors, it needs to be protected from harsh weather conditions. Otherwise, it will be subjected to extreme heat or cold, which can result in corrosion and the entrance of water, dust, and other contaminants. You can protect your valuable equipment with industrial-grade outdoor covers that shield it from water, heat, and humidity. A more expensive option is to store your equipment in temperature-controlled storage containers, providing it fits.

Don’t ignore your company’s assets.

You can’t control the weather, but you can control what happens to your company’s assets when a weather-related disaster strikes. The first line of defense is to store your important business information and data in a secure cloud-based environment. For example, if Mother Nature drops torrential rainfall and it results in a flooded office and a computer malfunction, you run the risk of losing important business data. That isn’t the case if you move to the cloud. The cloud does what on-site technology can’t: It keeps everything safe, secure, and easily accessible from anywhere there is an Internet connection. There are lots of cloud providers to choose from, and you can lease cloud software for an affordable monthly payment.

Establish emergency procedures.

Bad weather can strike without warning, even hours before your mobile weather app alerts you. Because of this, you need to come up with a plan that keeps your employees safe. First, invest in safety mats and rugs, heavy duty flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, bottled water, dried food, and a generator. Then, write up your company’s safety protocols if they aren’t already in your employee handbook. These protocols should explain what your employees should do in the event of an emergency so they can remain safe. If your business ends up needing to close its doors for a few days or weeks as a result of inclement weather, come up with a contingency plan.

Review your business insurance coverage.

Call your insurance agent to make sure you have the right amount of coverage for your needs. Business property damage insurance is designed to protect your company from losses when property is damaged or destroyed. You can get coverage for any business-related item that has value, such as furniture, technology, or a business vehicle. Lastly, ask your agent about business interruption insurance, which can provide you with coverage for things like lost revenue, relocation expenses, and employee payroll.