Act now to winterize your business

GEORGETOWN — After the spring-like month of December, it could be easy for Delaware businesses to be caught off-guard if temperatures dip suddenly.

Every year, businesses and nonprofits lose valuable productivity and suffer millions in lost sales as a result of winter weather. However, there are tools available at no charge to help businesses plan for weather emergencies, including a free webinar that businesses can view at their leisure on how to cope with winter weather. It’s at

The University of Delaware’s Small Business Development Center’s Business Resiliency program, in cooperation with the Small Business Administration, also can provide a free winter weather checklist at

For information, contact Business Resiliency Coordinator Cindy Small at (302) 856-1555 or email

The Small Business Administration offers the following tips for businesses and non-profits:

• What is your greatest risk? Power outages or loss of heat may cause pipes to freeze, which can burst and damage to your property and electronic equipment. Do you have an off-site back-up of your computer files that can be accessed while your building is being repaired?

• Do you have adequate insurance coverage? In the event of property damage from snow, ice or broken water pipes, are you covered? If you haven’t reviewed your business policy in a while, it might be a good time to consult with your agent before an event occurs.

• Does your insurance cover business interruptions? A good practice is to calculate the cost of business interruptions for one week, a month and possibly even longer. This is another conversation you should have with your insurer. And, remember … the business interruption might be that of an important vendor, so it’s good business practice to establish relationships with others in cases of emergency. What if your e-commerce website provider suddenly went out of business? Could you afford your website to be down, even for a day?

• Do you have a telecommute policy? It’s snowing outside and the roads are impassable. Your employees cannot get to work. If you have established a telecommute policy, you may have the option of having employees work from home. Visit for more information.

• Create a communications plan. It should only take a few minutes to create your communication strategy to help you manage foul weather. Record contact information and keep a copy at your residence for any necessary vendors and personnel so that you can reach them remotely. How will you let customers know you are closed? Often local television and radio stations will promote closures free of charge, but find out in advance how you get the information in their hands.

Once business owners begin to develop a plan, it can be updated and expanded to include interruptions power outages, equipment failure, fire and flooding. For more information about the Small Business Development Center’s Business Resiliency strategies, visit

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