Your small business is connected to the weather whether you work online or in a brick and mortar location. Knowing what’s going on outside affects everything from sales to marketing and of course profits.
Understanding that relationship is just as important as ordering stock and deciding which social media platform best suits your marketing purposes. Here are 10 ways knowing the weather forecast can boost your small business profits.
How Weather Affects Businesses, and What You Can Do About It
Understanding Your Buyer’s Mood
AccuWeather, a leader in global weather information, and Spotify, a music streaming service, understand this well. They’ve collaborated on a new site called Climatune. The site analyzes the effect weather has on the music people like.
Mark Ebel is Vice President of Business Services for AccuWeather. He knows the implications for small business well.
“ You need to understand how weather affects the moods of your specific customers,” he says adding sunshine, clouds or even severe storms can affect the number of patrons you get on any given day.
Matching Your Labor Needs
Knowing what you can expect as far as the weather goes can also help you decide on the size of the workforce you’ll need during any weather event.
“You can ask yourself questions like how a fast approaching storm can influence your breakfast business if you own a small restaurant and how many people you need to have in,” Ebel says.
Juggling Your Inventory
“Hyper local accuracy is what you’re looking for,” says Ebel noting forecasts can be pinpointed for every location on Earth. Being able to predict when a bout of unseasonably warm air will pass through can be a great help.
“If you own a ski lodge, it can help you order the right number of hamburger buns for a weekend.”
Running Facebook ads? You need to know when your target market is most likely to be online to see them. Ebel uses a spring time example to highlight how the weather is important to getting promotions right.
“The temperature has to be warm and the ground can’t be frozen to sell fertilizer in the United States. Small business owners can use the forecast information to decide which areas to run marketing programs in.”
Making Quick Decisions
The weather facing today’s small business can be unpredictable. The predictive analytics offered by AccuWeather is indispensable for making quick decisions. Even an unexpected snowstorm can send a small business scrambling to call an overnight crew in an hour early.
Tyler Dewvall is Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions.
“It’s great when the managers can make those kinds of calls early, but it’s also good for employees to know their company is taking advantage of weather warnings and forecasts,” he says.
Keeping People Safe
“Making the decision on whether or not to take shelter can be costly,” Dewvall says.
For example, if you own a small manufacturing company in St. Louis and decide to shut down operations and shelter your employees because of inaccurate storm warnings, profits can suffer.
On the other hand, small business has a responsibility to keep their employees safe from disasters like tornados and the threat of physical injury or death.
Handling Supply Chain Issues
Another advantage to this technology is in the ability to juggle real-time scenarios by using predictive analytics. It’s an invaluable tool for small businesses who rely on supply chains in different geographic areas.
For example, by being able to look at state-of-the-art weather forecasts, a small construction company in Pennsylvania can see if supplies and shipments from New York are going to be held up by advancing nasty weather patterns that can wash roads out and knock down trees.
Delivering as Promises
One of the bigger challenges for ecommerce sites is battling the free shipping offer made by bigger competitors. Being able to gaze into a crystal weather analytics ball helps these smaller firms keep the delivery promises they make in this highly competitive space.
“We have services that can analyze how one or two or three inches of rain over a period of time will impact important things like road traffic,” Dewvall says.
Industry leaders in weather forecasting often have the ability to present their clients with hypothetical small business consequences of different factors.
Getting The Right Insurance
A small bakery in Alabama can look at long term weather patterns in their state to decide on the right kind of insurance. Once again, predictive analytics plays a central role. Of course small businesses all across America need to be aware of the rising tide of unpredictable and sometimes costly storms.
It’s good to know that some insurers have websites for filing claims quickly. However, you’ll still need to document any damage by taking pictures. Knowing as much as possible about the weather patterns affecting your small business is an invaluable first step.
“In 2016 there were 16 separate events that cost over 1 billion dollars in damages and sadly death,” Mark Ebel says.
Finally, a big part of selling any goods and services is the responsibility of knowing how much of a carbon footprint you’re making. Being able to access weather patterns and forecasts in your locale can help you to see the big picture. With that information, small business owners can make any changes necessary to increase sustainable green models.
Thermometer Photo via Shutterstock
I know that I’ve had some close calls getting in an accident on the way to work when it’s really snowy, so I wish more companies would use weather reports. I like that you mention how small businesses have the responsibility to keep their employees safe from disasters. An injured employee might cost the company a lot more in the long run too, so I think it’s necessary to take the day off due to weather sometimes.