Recently, the weather in Europe has been quite cold. For many, the cold weather is bad news; however, if you have a small business, the cold just may work to your advantage. If you are able to open your shop, log on to your website or otherwise come in to work, the benefits are yours for the taking.

Increase customer loyalty.

First, if you are able to get out and about in the bad weather, then chances are that many of your customers are also able to get out on the road as well. This means that you have the advantage of increasing customer loyalty by being available when your customers need you the most. In addition, you may also attract new customers who are not able to make it to their usual shops.

Cold weather is a good ice breaker.

You may want to use the time to meet new contacts. It is amazingly easy to bond with your customers and associates when the weather is bad. Conversations and relationships have come to life for many years with the phrase, "How about that weather?" Your customers and business associates will appreciate your effort to maintain business as usual even when the weather is working against you.

Open your doors to new business.

When the weather is cold customers often have more time to spend in your shop, especially if other businesses have not made the same effort to keep their shops open. Take advantage of this and attract more customers by offering a free warm beverage such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate or even mulled wine. If you're a supplier, your customers and prospects may have more time for you. Understand they may not be in the buying mood, but may at least open the door to you and offer you a warm drink and a chance to get to know you and your product better while you try to learn their needs.

Opportunity knocks.

For retailers, you may find that people come in to stay warm and if other shops are closed, may look harder to buy something you have. If you customers have little time to shop for the gift they've come out for, they will be more open to your jewellery because they need to make a purchase and you've made them feel at home. Take time to build their profile, spend more time learning about their needs throughout the year and find ways to better prepare them for their next purchase.

Get the little things done.

If you do not have customers coming in on colder days, you can still benefit. You can take advantage of the lull by taking care of some overdue jobs that require your attention. When business is booming, or even just happening, it is difficult to deal with the smaller, yet just as important tasks. Slower business when the weather is bad provides you with an opportunity to get back on top of the little things.

Let your website pick up the slack.

If you have an online store, firstly make sure your products are up to date and looking irresistible. Secondly let your customers know delivery expectations in real time. If it looks like their product will be delayed, send them some sort of gift voucher or presentation online that can be given on the day while the gift/product actually arrives. The extreme weather has been extremely inconvenient to millions of people in the UK and further afield over the past few weeks. However, many finance experts and investors might argue that cold weather can be beneficial. When all is said and done, many believe that there will be just as many winners as there are losers when the financial effects of the winter weather are weighed.

It is up to you to make sure you're one of the winners, but you have to take action!