Will you be prepared when a crisis hits your business?
A crisis is any unexpected event that can put your business at risk. A crisis can devastate a small business. A crisis can result from either a positive or a negative event – a website security hack can have a devastating impact, but so can an unexpected flood of new business that you aren’t prepared to handle. But either way, crisis planning is the best way to make sure your business survives the unexpected.
Common Types of Business Crises
While most small businesses can’t predict a crisis, there are common types of business crises:
- Product or Service Failure
- Technology Breakdown
- Public Relations Issue
- Death or Injury to a Business Older or Key Stakeholder or Representative
- Natural Disaster
- Financial Issue
- Crime or Violence
A crisis usually gives you little if any advance notice, yet demands an immediate response. In order to successfully lead your small business through a crisis, it’s important to create a crisis management plan for your business and to train your team on what to do if a crisis occurs.
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What Is a Crisis Management Plan?
A crisis management plan is a list of actions that can be taken if an unexpected and potentially disastrous event occurs at your small business. The goal of a crisis management plan is for the business to survive and recover from the crisis. Bernstein Crisis Management identifies The 3 C’s of Crisis Management for small businesses:
Small business owners and managers usually have the additional responsibility of maintaining their image through personal PR efforts. When managing a crisis, it’s important for owners and managers to be confident in their business, employees and mission. It’s okay (and encouraged) to admit when you’re wrong, but don’t admit so many faults that you begin to belittle your business.
Owners and managers alike need to remember to be competent when dealing with crisis management. Admit the mistake, correct it and make sure to minimize the chance of the mistake happening again. Be honest and proactive. Stay in communication with your customers until you are sure that they are pleased with the results.
It’s important for managers and owners to show empathy toward their customers when a crisis occurs, and to be understanding throughout the situation.
Being proactive and planning for a potential crisis puts you in a better position to successfully save your business if a crisis occurs. Not all crises can be avoided, but a crisis management plan can help guide your response if a crisis occurs.