A crisis can strike at any moment. Here are four tips to help owners maintain their company value in the midst of adversity.
Read the full article at: www.inc.com
Every small business owner should have some sort of plan in place to protect their business and prepare for the unexpected. One of our earlier posts, What Happens to Your Business If You Die or Become Seriously Ill? outlines how business owners can develop a plan in case something unfortunate should happen to them. Instead of the owner, what if the business itself is suddenly struck by disaster? Can anything be done to avoid the loss in its value due to a hurricane, burglary or cyber attack?
Here’s a few tips on how business owners can put mechanisms in place ahead of time that can mitigate the damages should an unexpected disaster occur.
1. Know you company’s weaknesses. Identify ahead of time all of your company’s known vulnerabilities. Model out different scenarios and how they would affect your sales, customer attrition and client relationships. Understanding these possible outcomes early will help you develop a more informed response.
2. Create a formal response plan. After you identify your company’s weaknesses, this is where you develop a plan on how to respond to different events. This is where you list what resources your business will need for each type of disaster, such as FEMA assistance or certain types of insurance policies. This is also where you assign responsibilities and procedures to certain staff members.
3. Communications strategy. During and after a crisis, owners must develop a new strategy on how to communicate effectively with different audiences, including customers, employees, vendors and buyers. All messaging should be clear, concise and transparent. Always show audiences that you recognize the gravity of the situation and are taking the necessary steps to fix it. Be prepared to communicate on both digital and traditional channels. This is also a good opportunity for owners to develop a plan for speaking with the media, such as local newspapers, TV and radio.
4. Monitor your reputation. The public’s perception of your company can indeed have an impact on your business. After a disaster strikes, keep track of what the media and customers are saying about your company. This includes not only traditional media channels, but also social media channels and online review sites such as Yelp and Glassdoor. A quick Google and Google News search can work wonders in providing insight into what the public sentiment is about your company. As you monitor, start developing a communications plan accordingly. You may have to deal with responding to sensitive issues that will require professional assistance from legal counsel.
At some point in the future, many small business will have to deal with an emergency situation. Having a plan in place ahead of time can reduce any damages and make the recovery process go much smoother.