Last Saturday, a heavy rain began falling in the Washington, DC area (where I live). By the next morning, the rain – thanks to a roof leak — had soaked part of the interior of a store owned by my entrepreneurial husband.
Clearly, this was a problem. It didn’t matter that it was Sunday morning, at an hour when many people were sipping their first cup of coffee or getting ready for church. When you have a business, the problems don’t seem to care what time it is.
So we threw on some old clothes, and off we went to the store.
It wasn’t pretty. Rainwater ran into trashcans, plastic drinking cups and other assorted receptacles. To make matters worse, the water dripped perilously near the wiring used to operate telephones and computers, threatening to short out those systems.
Despite the situation, the store opened that morning. Thankfully, employees could run credit card charges and the computerized inventory system worked. Customers shopped and, more importantly, bought. In the end, business wasn’t half bad (for a rainy day, anyway).
What takeaways does this soggy experience offer for business owners? Here are a few:
Have a Plan B –Make sure you have backup systems in place to operate critical functions in this type of situation.
Be proactive — Don’t wait until a problem occurs to try to line up these systems!
Communicate – Let employees and customers know what you’re doing to address the problem.
Keep providing great service – If you treat customers well, and deliver what they need, they’ll be more inclined to overlook the inconvenience of a temporary physical problem.
Step up to the plate — Don’t ask other employees to do what you’re not willing to do. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Finally, remember the old adage about what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. When it rains, it pours — but the sun comes out, eventually. When it does, you’ll appreciate it even more.