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Snow Day for an Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, there really isn’t such a thing as a snow day but we still wish for them. I think it has to do with the kid inside all of us. We still get excited when that white stuff starts to fall, thinking maybe, just maybe we’ll get a few more hours of sleep or better yet, a jump on the day.

Let me take you back several winters to the blizzard of 2010. . . It was that time when we got dumped on twice in less than a week. People were stranded, grocery stores could not get their deliveries and businesses struggled to open.

At the time, Vircity was 4 years old and well-established in the community. We knew our customers, their families, and their businesses. . . .and they knew we lived within walking distance to Vircity. After shoveling mounds of snow to get out of our house, we managed to walk over to Vircity with the thought of posting a sign that we were closed – SNOW DAY! Our staff was stranded and with the parking lots impassible, we really didn’t think there would be any business. WRONG.

When we arrived at the store, we retrieved multiple telephone messages all asking when they could drop off their FedEx packages. Before we could successfully close the store, people just started arriving. They knew we lived around the corner so they figured we’d be open and they found us. It was somewhat comical. All we wanted was a snow day. We made copies, sent faxes and prepared shipments for when FedEx might be operating again. The most fascinating thing to us was our customers did not understand why their FedEx packages would not be delivered the next day. It seemed so simple to us – if they couldn’t drive how could FedEx pick up their packages? If the airports were closed, how could FedEx fly the packages to their destinations? People walked in with their request for overnight deliveries only to be disappointed to learn that FedEx would not be picking up for several days.

There are many advantages to being an entrepreneur, but when you own a retail business, snow days are not one of them. We took away two important lessons from this blizzard. 1.) Hire staff living in the area so they can help when it snows 2.) Close early because otherwise entrepreneurs never really get a snow day.