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Two Harsh Winters in One Year

Two Harsh Winters in One Year

The current harsh weather threatening to be the final nail in the coffin of some businesses. The weather affects different businesses in different ways.

Earlier this year, snow threatened to hit many struggling businesses. Sure enough, according to data from Lloyds TSB Commercial, with snow and ice hitting deliveries and causing firms to cease trading, 70% of the 1,000 SMEs surveyed say there is adverse effects to their trade.

A representative from The Forum of Private Business recently said, “We estimated that last winter’s snowfalls were costing smaller businesses across the UK around £230 million each day at one point. Obviously, small firms can ill afford a similar expenditure this year so we’re urging business owners to think about their contingency plans now to ensure they aren’t put out of action by another icy winter.”

And it has happened again with the current harsh weather threatening to be the final nail in the coffin of some businesses. The weather affects different businesses in different ways. Anybody in the transport industry will obviously struggle. At this time of the year there are usually numerous awards dinners, Christmas fairs, with many catering firms depending on this to see them through the lean months – indeed some will be depending on it simply for survival. Many of these events simply face cancellation– postponement often isn’t an option.

Although retailers usually see a fall in sales in bad weather, consumers generally turn out once the weather eases up. However, parts of the leisure and hospitality industries – restaurants, pubs and hotels – experience customers staying at home. This is simply lost turnover which will not necessarily be replaced.

Lost productivity in manufacturing is frequently a consequence of difficulties with transportation of staff, components or raw materials. Even if production completes, there is the problem of shipping finished goods. The end result invariably hits cash flow – the lifeblood of all businesses. Businesses still paying or receiving cheque payments will see a slowdown in payment transition with genuine delay for some cheques but potentially even more using the postal system as an excuse to hang onto money longer. Unfortunately, companies cannot assume their banks will support them. Particularly if they have experienced financial challenges in the past couple of years – as most businesses have.

It is in such situations, business owners are looking for ways to enable their businesses to survive. Only taking advice as and when it is essential and timely. Delaying speaking to a specialist adviser can dramatically reduce the options available.

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