We all know that the near future is going to be rough going economically, but what if your community adds street repairs to the challenges you are already facing this year?  The Small Business Advisory Council here in Madison, Wisconsin (where there are said to be two seasons, winter and road work) has issued a helpful guide for business owners called the “Road Construction Survival Guide.” There are many tips that I think you will find helpful when your turn comes, whether it is this year or in the future.

The first suggestion is that you get involved early, meeting with community leaders to find out what is planned, and for when.  Ask if there are plans to make sure that consumers know that the businesses are still open through the construction.  Arrange for your own promotional advertising to get this word out as well.

 If you know that the construction period will be long enough that your business will be negatively impacted, you should plan ahead by reducing staff and inventory. You might consider curtailing your hours temporarily. And be sure that you have a good customer e-mail list set up so that you can keep customers posted throughout the construction process.

 A few of the tips for getting through the period of road work include:

allocate more time or money for cleaning

create a friendly rapport with construction workers

make sure signage is clear

consider using an alternative entrance temporarily

 And I’d like to add one of my own: make sure your products are well secured on their shelves.  We recently had a bit of a landslide when one item was shaken off its shelf by the heavy rumble of passing construction trucks, and that item hit a shelf of Kitras glass globes.  They didn’t break, I’m happy to say, but they served as bowling balls taking down everything in their path.  And our major roadwork isn’t scheduled until next summer.  At least we’ll be prepared!

 Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder