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Nobody likes to think about a crisis happening, but most business owners will have been told about the importance of having a plan in place (just in-case!). Yet the reality is that only one in four companies admit to having one.
The word, crisis, tends to lead to thoughts of catastrophic events, but for most businesses a crisis usually involves things like financial problems, negative social media comments, technology failures, disgruntled staff or service and product issues.
Make no mistake, these seemingly minor problems can escalate very quickly. At best, dealing with them will take up a lot of time, energy and money. At worst, they have the power to severely damage your company’s reputation.
Last year alone the UK’s SMEs spent £8.8 billion trying to rectify business crises and it’s a known fact that 70% of smaller companies will go out of business within just one year of experiencing a crisis.
Last year has certainly shown just how quickly and unexpectedly a crisis can happen. It’s impossible to predict exactly when, if or how the next crisis for your business will unfold, but don’t let it catch you unaware.
As ever, the hardest part of planning is knowing where to start. To help, we have created a step-by-step guide that tells you all you need to know about turning a blank sheet of paper into a robust crisis action plan. You might also want to listen to Episode 6 of our podcast, Revitalise & Grow, which is all about how to manage a PR crisis.
In the meantime, here are our top tips to get you started:
Essentially, crisis planning is the process of asking a series of straightforward questions, answering them, documenting them and telling your team.
It’s essential to consider the following:
- What could go wrong?
- What will the impact be on the business?
- What action you should be taking?
- Who do you need to tell?
Involve your team:
It’s important to involve your team in crisis planning. They are often on the front line of your business and may well be able to identify potential threats that you haven’t thought of.
Plan for the worst:
When considering the things that could go wrong within your business, don’t be afraid to delve into worst case scenarios. Remember that your plan is all about preparing for the worst, not about expecting it.
Only when you know what could happen, does it become easier to know what to put in place to prevent it from doing so.
The best plan in the world will struggle to be effective without good people in place to execute it. Always think about the best placed person or people to lead your business through a crisis.
Our recommendation is to select a small crisis task force to lead the way. You will most likely need a variety of different skill sets – from marketing and HR to finance, IT and spokespeople.
Keep your plan alive:
The biggest tip we can offer is to never cross crisis planning off the ‘to do’ list. Having a plan is one thing, but real peace of mind starts from knowing it’s actually going to work.
Never allow your hard work to gather dust! Review your plan at least once a month to check that it is up to date and tweak it as often as you need to.
We’d love to hear your tips for keeping calm in a crisis? Share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org! If you’d like a step-by-step guide to managing a crisis, just download our Crisis Management 101 guide where we will walk you through it. We also offer a crisis management planning service for just £495 if you’d rather leave it to our team of experts!