Does Bad Weather Affect Our Business?

We set all sorts of records for cold and snow this winter. More than a few people have asked us if a long, cold winter in the Northeast has negatively affected business. It stands to reason that people are less likely to detail when the winter is brutal and Spring starts a month later.

The real answer: it’s probably hurt a bit, but we don’t really know. Sales are up, but they’d likely be up a little more if the country had a warm and mild winter. Honestly though, it’s out of our control so for the most part we don’t discuss it or think about it. Remember: only 13% of business fail due to external (i.e. uncontrollable) factors.

Most of the time external things just don’t matter. There’s no sense in dwelling on what we can’t control, because there are plenty of things that we can control. I’m a believer that having an attitude that you control your own success or failure is much better for your bottom line, your company culture, and your overall happiness and satisfaction as a business owner.

2 comments on Does Bad Weather Affect Our Business?

  1. Tim says:

    Interesting topic – I think it stands to reason that your assumption is correct, that largely poor weather conditions would negatively impact your business. That said, FL, CA, TX and other large states with long sunny seasons and large car enthusiast groups really flatten out the potential valley’s created by localized weather. I think the holiday season centricity of your business also helps flatten that out, with your promotional offers and gift giving. While national “bad weather” may have a short term negative effect I bet slightly longer term it would be positive.

    As a recovering car guy, formerly from upstate NY, I know how a long winter can make me want to spend some quality time with my car. People spring clean for a reason 🙂

    With our single location business in NY, weather was a HUGE factor. Weather and the time of the weather, for example early snow fall or threat of snow fall (like in November) meant a good “season” however, first snow fall after Black Friday typically meant a very weak season. A really late snow fall, like mid-December would typically put a year in the red. Similarly a light early snow fall at around 6 PM was bad for business, but light snow at 7 AM was good for business, the micro factors that impacted our business were pretty astonishing.

    While this is a painfully obvious statement, weather most certainly impacts a business for better or worse the more localized the business is. Heck, most ice cream shops in NY close between Labor Day and Memorial Day!

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Yea absolutely, good point. The #s cited in that book I linked to all come from public companies. Weather can certainly ruin local businesses in a way it can’t really for an e-commerce company or a multinational public company.

      We definitely do a large business to CA, FL, & TX, but we also do substantial business in the Northeast and big cities like Chicago, which is where I suspect the weather probably had a small negative affect, as did the late-arriving Spring in many other parts of the country.

      For us, there are always options to focus sales & marketing efforts on wherever in the country/world it’s warm, something a small, local, physical retailer can’t do.

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