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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Blizzard Jonas, Disaster Prep And When Businesses Shut Down

As of the time of this writing, the Blizzard Jonas* has deposited more than two feet on much of the urban Interstate 95 corridor from Washington DC to Philadelphia to New York City and points northeast.

(* - the unofficial name given to major winter storms by The Weather Channel, similar to the official name designations used by the National Hurricane Center)

Plenty of elected officials have warned people to get home and stay home in advance of the storm. Not unusual for truly "major" storms. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio urged businesses to close so that their employees could get home and not risk being stranded when that city began shutting down escape routes like parts of its transit system, and bridges and tunnels leading out of the city towards New Jersey. (Note: When government does that, it essentially uses its own force majeure to compel a business to shut down. There is such a thing as business interruption insurance, for precisely this type of situation; whether that is worthwhile is a different question.)

How a business reacts to a crisis is critical to its future. Certainly, a business which stays open in these conditions may get a revenue windfall because all its competitors may be closed. The business may also get positive public relations by noy gouging its customers by charging $20 for a liter of water or some other idiocy by "having been there" for its customers in their time of desperation need. But I consider these positive crisis moments for a business because they are opportunities for the business to distinguish itself from its competitors.

These opportunities are rare, they often occur by surprise and they offer free publicity. That is a perfect storm for taking advantage.

This is when a young business can make a name for itself. Consider these situations as challenges and opportunities to market yourself.

Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer, business consultant, advisor to several young privately-held companies, and advisor to and part-owner in several blockchain technology companies. Contact him at if you think you need help with your business or potential enterprise. 

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