Small businesses warned to be watchful of the weather
Poor winter weather conditions leave small businesses facing heightened levels of risk, according to new data from Zurich.
From property damage to potential liability for injuries, it's important for small businesses to protect themselves and have suitable plans for any eventuality.
Businesses are encouraged to check their properties prior to Christmas, especially if they are likely to be left unoccupied for any length of time.
Pipework should be vigorously checked as even a small leak could cause considerable damage â€“ boilers and thermostat controls should also be tested to ensure they are working as expected.
Without preparation, a business may suffer interruption either now, or in the New Year, and the cost of putting things right could significantly disrupt cash flow.
Given that the festive period can place pressures on business finances anyway, taking steps to avoid additional expenditure becomes essential.
Other aspects of property such as chimneys, roofing and guttering should also be checked as harsh weather conditions may cause unseen damage.
Trained professionals should carry out such checks, and any repairs if they are required, so as to reduce the risk to employees.
Zurich has also warned businesses to be on the lookout for fraudulent accident claims and suggests that as many steps as possible should be taken to minimise the likelihood of incidents taking place in the first place.
Keeping a record of what measures are taken, alongside photographic evidence where possible, can help to defend against fraud.
These steps should enable firms to focus on the more important aspects of business, such as driving sales, supporting growth and managing finances.
With sufficient risk management, businesses can ensure they can take advantage of the winter period and finish the financial year strongly.
Of course, those at the other end of the spectrum and facing financial difficulty should also seek appropriate advice at the earliest opportunity in order to minimise their risks too.
By Phil Smith