Having a small business is a big job. Because you have little to no staff, the big problems typically fall to you, the business owner. Thus, it is important to be prepared for any emergency that might occur and be knowledgeable about how to fix the little issues before they become big ones. Here are three common emergencies and the easiest solutions for them. After all, time is money, right?
A Sudden Loss of Power
Image via Flickr by Tony Webster
Have you ever had an outage but noticed that the neighboring building still had power? It’s normal for an entire block to lose power, but what if it’s just in your building? Chances are good that the cause is an electrical fault. This can happen if you are pulling too much power from one place and occurs more frequently in older buildings.
If you do encounter a power outage, head to your fuse box, and take a look inside. If you have blown a fuse or flipped a breaker, it will be switched off, and a quick flip back on could solve the problem. Also, if you have GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets, you might need to press the reset button. If this doesn’t help, it is time to call in the professionals.
Have big blotches appeared on your ceiling or bubbles popped up in your drywall? It’s probably a leaky pipe. These can be the plague to buildings because one leak can cause a myriad of larger problems, such as mold, rot, HVAC issues, and, in extreme cases, flooding. It’s important to investigate and follow the leak back to its source, which in some cases can be far from the actual damage, due to gravity and pipage.
If sweating pipes are the problem, a towel and insulating tape might do the trick. If you notice the leak at a pipe joint, try tightening the fixtures. Sometimes leaks develop because pipes are old and deteriorated. This might require a patch, but if you are unfamiliar with installing a patch, you should call a plumber. Remember to turn the water off before attempting any fix, as you don’t want to make the leaky area even more saturated and result in a larger repair.
Budgeting for an Emergency
In an ideal world, preventive maintenance would be easy and done regularly to prevent big problems. But even so, it’s important to be ready for anything. That’s why having a regular maintenance schedule on a service contract is helpful. Because budgeting is no small task, it might be worth recruiting a money manager to help.
Studies have shown that 25 percent of businesses do not reopen after a major emergency or catastrophe. Having a plan for this scales that percentage down dramatically. Know who to call and what to ask when a problem arises. Having a list of local help numbers saves time and sanity when you are trying to get your business back on its feet after an emergency.