In today’s business climate, business owners must remain agile – they must continuously adapt, decide at a breakneck pace, execute with the twinkling of an eye, and consistently innovate. They are quick, spontaneous, and goal-driven. It’s part of who they are — and there’s always new technology to support them.
But sometimes, we need to step back, relax, slow down, and think more than usual — especially during those unusual times of national, even global, a crisis like the pandemic that is happening now. COVID-19 (coronavirus) has changed the way we all do business and has a powerful effect on small businesses.
A crisis can happen in a company at the drop of a hat, and that’s a fact of life — no matter the kind, brand, brand, or stability of your company, things can go wrong! But don’t panic! It’s time to lean on your skills, pull up your bootstraps, and get to work.
Here are some helpful tips on how to do it:
Assess the situation. Now is the moment that we will stop to make sure everybody is safe and sound. So this needs to be the priority. Ensure that your family, your employees, and you, in particular, are protected. Next, make sure you do everything you can to protect your customers. If you’ve done what you can to ensure everyone’s health and safety, it’s time to find out how this situation will affect your business.
Plan for solutions. There’s still a lot of unknowns, but it’s interesting to think about the possible problems and what you can do to fix them. The problems will vary depending on your company, and your solutions will also vary. You can never prepare for crises because of their unpredictable existence. However, draw up a crisis plan. The first step to create a crisis plan is to identify the pressure points of your company. Do one significant risk evaluation to see where the business is most likely to fail.
Then, using these pressure points, determine the effect the failure would have on your business — will it have on customers? Will it delay sales? Are you going to face penalties or a fading reputation?
Next, you need to figure out what contingency plans you will follow when things go wrong. It involves going through the resources, the actions to take, and engaging team members in each of the situations. If you’re handling a brand’s ads and then the brand gets a total load of negative publicity, chances are some of that will fall back on you. That means that you will need a strategy in place that ties your sales reps together to speak to the client, your PR staff to draw up the response from your company and the entire team to get the brand’s identity back on track. You then need to build one of those plans for all eventualities imaginable.
The trick here is understanding who’s doing what and when. It is necessary to know the chains of accountability, as a problem in one project does not have to spread to the rest of the business, with a stable structure and proper management.
Use Your Platform to Provide Support. For any business that has a social media presence, realize that you have a platform. When you’re talking, people are listening, so it’s okay to lead with your heart and intuition. Communicate your sympathy, support — whatever is appropriate. Your voice of encouragement may help others to feel better. Then you offer the resources. It may be a link to donate to a non-government but let people know what you’re doing to help the situation so you can inspire others to do the same. Determine if you have any customers or clients that are affected by the crisis. Then you reach out. Is there a way in which you can help them? Help those who are supporting you as a business. Loyalty is going a long way, and it works both ways.
Take The Pressure Off Your Staff. Encourage everyone to take a break! During a crisis, everyone can travel a million miles an hour and feel unable to leave their laptop — let them know to take a break, as it will help in the long run. Stay calm. If you’re stressed out and out of control, it will rub other people off. We know it’s hard, but take a deep breath and set a stress-free precedent. At the end of any crisis, make sure that employees have their due. If they know they’re valued in a crisis, they’ll feel much better about their work in the next one.
If you are managing a crisis, communicating often and early can help alleviate pain points, rally the troops, and mitigate the potential fallout of the situation.