March big freeze hits small businesses

This year we saw a particularly long and cold winter and for many, the memories of snow-covered streets and slippery ice will still cause a shiver. Sadly, once again small business owners, particularly those in the retail sector, bore the brunt of the bad weather and those in the North of the UK where the cold weather was at its most severe were hit the worst.

In fact, the March weather cost local UK retailers an estimated £174m and some small business owners saw their income drop to 15% of its normal level. It was reported that an enormous 55% of entrepreneurs felt that their business had been adversely affected by the unseasonable weather which resulted in warnings of black ice and dangerous driving conditions, keeping staff and potential shoppers away from the high street.

Fighting back

So what can businesses do to keep costs down even when economic and seasonal downturns combine?

Cutting down business energy costs is one way. With the right measures in place it can also be easy to manage. Heating costs rise exponentially in winter, especially when it’s a particularly long and cold one, but as the days turn warmer and brighter, you can start to make great savings and start to balance out the costs you incurred during the cold weather.

If your heating is set on timer, this is a great time to make adjustments. You probably only need minimal or no heating at this time of year, and many work places won’t require much air-conditioning either.

If you are using air-conditioning or heating, keep windows and doors closed so that you are not allowing cold or hot air to escape. If you have a thermostat, think about adjusting it by one degree. For every one degree your heating goes up, the energy bill goes down by 8%. When it’s only one degree you won’t feel the difference, but you’ll see a marked difference to your business gas costs.

You can make great reductions to your energy bills with a few simple strategies. Firstly, switch to energy saving bulbs wherever possible. They cost more but last much longer and use considerably less electricity, so over the long term they will help you to make big savings.

Make the most of savings

If you are starting to implement energy saving methods, avoid estimated billing by making sure you submit accurate meter readings as frequently as possible. Estimated bills won’t take into account the savings that you make and you won’t get a clear picture of how well you’re doing in reducing energy waste.

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