/ Big Events. Small Business.

Charlotte is growing really big, really quickly.

With this rapid growth comes a wave of big events: national conventions, concerts, festivals, and sporting events. These gatherings can draw tens of thousands of visitors to the Charlotte region and have the potential to boost the local economy and aid in job creation. However, this surge in tourism can also lead to unexpected or unforeseen local events, which can disrupt small businesses in many ways.

In addition to tourism-related disruptions, small businesses can face significant impacts when faced with large-scale disasters, such as unexpected or severe weather conditions, political upheaval, or acts of terrorism. These big events can affect small businesses and their surrounding communities for weeks or months following the catalyst event. As big events bring both opportunities and threats to small business, how do you best plan for big events that come to the city? You prepare. 


Subscribe to local event calendars such as charlottesgotalot.com to stay in the know about upcoming planned events, such as the 2020 CIAA Basketball Tournament and the Republican National Convention. For planned events such as these, find out which neighborhoods, streets, and venues will be utilized. For emergency and disaster response information, follow Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Emergency Management social media channels:  @CharMeckEM and @charmeckem.  

Prepare your business even further and attend seminars and workshops at the Small Business Center (SBC) at Central Piedmont.

Once informed on local events, you can identify opportunities to leverage planned events to help boost your business. You can also research potential obstacles and steps you can take to minimize them. For unplanned events, establish a timeline and create a plan to maintain business continuity throughout various scenarios. Determine which, if any, business channels and resources may be affected, such as the storefront, potential customers, staff, and/or product availability. 

Smart leaders have a business continuity plan in place for any large event that can pose a threat to the flow of operations – sporting events, festivals, political events, and hurricanes as examples.

Take this free assessment to see if your business is prepared.

Ready for more? Visit Open for Business to develop a free, customizable toolkit to help your small business plan for any type of business interruption and quickly re-open and resume operations following a disaster. 

When creating your business continuity plan, remember to take into consideration the most important thing to execute such a plan – people! People who are prepared for changes and/or crises in business give that business the best chance of mitigating negative impacts and recovering quickly.

Make sure your employees, clients,  and vendors are aware of upcoming planned events and potential unplanned events likely to disrupt business – specifically parts of the business that will affect them. For example, if a large sporting event is coming to town and road closures are expected during business hours, you may need to reschedule or relocate deliveries, meetings, and/or adjust employee work schedules. Be sure to share this information in a timely manner.

For unplanned events, be sure employees have the proper tools and training to promote emotionally intelligent behavior when under pressure.  

How can Emotional Intelligence Affect the Workplace?

To minimize risk and negative impacts of business disruption, monitor events as they occur and make adjustments to your continuity plan, as needed. Stay informed and understand the complete operating picture of big events as they unfold: What is happening? When and where is it happening? Who is it affecting?

You’ve achieved your dream of owning a small business – Don’t get caught unprepared.

Your response to events big and small can mean the difference between servicing the community or shutting down operations.

For more information, visit our Disaster Preparedness and Recovery page.