A moment of crisis! Is your business prepared?
Updated: Mar 24, 2019
Of course, the best way to deal with any crisis is to be prepared in advance. However, the whole definition of crisis management is ‘the process by which a business or other organisation deals with a sudden emergency situation’. Therefore, by the very nature of a crisis, you are likely to be at least slightly back-footed by such a situation hitting your business.
So, what is a crisis? Of course, it all depends greatly on your business, but a crisis may affect you, your staff, their family and partners, your suppliers, your customers, your stakeholders, or the general public. For a small business, a crisis can be anything from an IT failure, long-term illness or the loss of a key member of staff, to an outbreak of infection – think of how the outbreak of foot and mouth disease affected farmers several years ago. It could be a theft of your equipment, a fire, a supplier issue that affects your stock, or a product defect showing up that necessitates a recall of that product. The list can be excruciatingly long!
These reasons are exactly why you need to plan, particularly if you are running a small business, as you may lack the resources to cope easily in a crisis. At best, a failure to plan may mean that you lose customers while you get your business back on its feet. At worst, your business may never recover and may have to cease trading. All pretty scary stuff.
So, what should you do?
As part of the planning process you should:
Identify all potential crises that might affect you – from the most minor to those which could threaten your entire business
Discuss and agree how you intend to minimise the chances of these disasters occurring
Set out in a business continuity plan how you’ll react if a disaster does occur.
Part of your business continuity plan will be your crisis communications plan. We all fear bad press, whether it’s in the papers or through social media, but by ensuring you have a solid crisis communications plan in place, you can help to prevent an issue from becoming a drama, or a drama becoming a crisis – and it’s usually possible to turn things around so that you earn additional loyalty from existing and new customers/service users.
If you’ve been thinking about your crisis planning but not yet tackled it, here are three ways I can help:
Crisis communication planning – developing a tailored crisis communication plan for your business which will work alongside your business continuity plan. In fact, the two are often prepared together as one brings the other into play.
Crisis consultancy – providing confidential third-party advice either as you draw up your own plans or if you are in the middle of a crisis and need a sounding board.
Rehab after the crisis – putting it well and truly behind you and examining what can and should be learned/changed going forward and working towards regaining any lost ground.
This is obviously a highly confidential service and case studies will not be forwarded. However, as examples, I have worked with clients who have had business crises in the form of a premises fire and IT equipment theft, which have closed their offices, an employee arrest, a safety issue and a product recall. I have developed plans for businesses in the biotech, recruitment, construction, equine, healthcare and retail sectors.
If I can be of help or if you just want to chat through your concerns for your business, please contact me at Blue Lizard Marketing on 01638 731513 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.