Firm News

Cold Snap! Preparing for Business Disruptions When the Weather Goes Nuts

January 26, 2018

​New Orleans continues to demonstrate how unprepared it is for disruptive weather.

Last summer the flood pumps failed after what can only be described as an average summer storm. Temperatures dropped last week to 18 degrees. Schools and businesses closed throughout the Greater New Orleans Area, leaving people in a limbo of chaos and frustration. 18 degrees is cold, to be sure, but 18 degrees is practically tropical to people in the Northeast this time of year.

As businesses evaluate their operating risks, disruption management must be a top priority. Business continuity during disruptions, and the ability to continue seamlessly, is a major brand asset. In fact, some businesses have continuity as pillars of their brands.

Let’s take Waffle House, for example. Whether we’re talking about a storm, earthquake or asteroid strike, Waffle House gets its lights on and grills fired up as soon as the authorities open an area back up to the public. Their brand promise: No matter what is going on, you can come on in and get a hot tasty meal. That’s a pretty good brand platform, and it’s no wonder the brand has cult-like loyalty.

Does your business have a plan for disruptions? Do you know how to explain your disruption with your customers or clients, and what you’re doing about it? Do you have procedures in place that help the business keep running, or that at least minimize the effects of the disruption? Are your managers and employees aware of these procedures?

If you answered no to one or more of these questions, your business is at risk. Actually, at risks. These include:

  • Reputational damage, strain with customer/client relationships
  • Disgruntled customers/clients airing their grievances on social media
  • Disgruntled customers/clients taking their business elsewhere…perhaps to competitors with effective continuity plans

History has proven that it’s tough to respond to a business disruption when there isn’t a plan in place. Time is very precious when disruptions occur, and you want to be spending that time executing a well-conceived response, rather that figuring out what to do. The loss of a day or two in responding to a situation can be practically immeasurable from a brand perspective. Conversely, a strong response can make your brand look great.

We help clients develop robust and actionable response plans to disruptions. While weather and other unforeseen events can surprise anyone, success hinges on the ability to respond. In our experience, the best way to respond is to have a plan in place. Give us a call, we can help.

OK, I’m hungry. I’m heading over to Waffle House…

Jordan Friedman is a Partner at Bond Moroch.