Archive for October, 2012

Natural Disasters — Opportunities in Adversity Are Possible

October 30, 2012

Small businesses often suffer more than larger corporations in times of natural disasters.

But sometimes, they can turn adversity into positive opportunities to help their neighbors.

The mega-storm Sandy that hit the East Coast demonstrated this axiom.

Local retailers helped their neighbors throughout the north east with supplies, advice and shelter.

Stores remained open almost until the end, building goodwill.

Manufacturers with large spaces turned them into shelters.

Price gouging on critical supplies was almost non-existent.

While in the short-run productive days were lost, positive efforts can bring rewards down the road.

When normal communication channels of small businesses are down, they have the time to do the things often put off during normal working days.

Inventory checking, rearranging interior spaces, adjusting internal systems are some of the tasks a disaster like Sandy can provide the time not often allocated.

On a more proactive level, a simple email to customers asking them “how are they doing and can you help” works wonders for long-term relationships.

Helping with street clean-up, volunteering at local shelters, offering communications (phones, email) to others without services also elicits positive reactions.

In the aftermath of the storm, setting up a social network to exchange stories, experiences and suggestions can also help a small business raise their visibility in their sales footprint.

Above all, remain positive and share the experience with customers.

When up and running again, share the news with all current and potential customers.

Natural disasters happen, how small businesses handle them can make a big difference in future relationships