Unplanned events can have a devastating effect on small businesses. Crises such as fire, damage to stock, illness of key staff or IT system failure could all make it difficult or even impossible to carry out your normal day-to-day activities.
At worst, this could see you losing important customers - and even going out of business altogether.
But with good planning you can take steps to minimize the potential impact of a disaster - and ideally prevent it happening in the first place.
Here are a few ideas to consider:
It's essential to plan thoroughly to protect yourself from the impact of potential crises since you may lack the resources to cope easily in a crisis.
Failure to plan could be disastrous. At best you risk losing customers while you're getting your business back on its feet. At worst your business may never recover.
2. Identify a spokesperson
If the crisis could potentially impact the health or well-being of customers, the general public or employees, it may attract media attention. To ensure your company speaks with one voice and delivers a clear consistent message, a spokesperson must be identified as well as prepared to answer media questions and participate in interviews.
While there is nothing more important than forming a strong bond with your employees and clients, don’t overlook others with whom you should forge a relationship. This includes the local police department, community centers, and educational institutions among others.
You should draw up a business continuity plan setting out how you will cope if a crisis does occur.
It should detail:
- the key business functions you need to get operating as quickly as possible and the resources you'll need to do so
- the roles of individuals in the emergency
Making the most of the first hour after an emergency occurs is essential in containing the impact. As a result, your plan needs to explain the immediate actions to be taken.
5. Communicate with customers and suppliers
You do not want customers and suppliers to learn about your crisis through the media. Information on any crisis pertaining to your organization should come from you first. Part of the crisis communications plan must include customers and suppliers and how they will be regularly updated during the event.
No matter what has happened in the past, you never know what the future holds. At some point, you are likely to face a crisis. How and when you deal with this will determine what direction your company takes. I hope these suggestions help. Please let me know your thoughts: Gerry@polarisgroupmc.com