How to Create a Crisis Management Plan for Your Business
Crisis in business is a term that sends chills down the spine to many entrepreneurs but not to worry. For every situation, there is a solution. You should also keep in mind that besides sales and profits, businesses can have underlying issues that will lag overall performance, growth, and expansion. Either way, as long as you are in business, you should be hoping for the best but expecting the worse.
Now, in a nutshell, a business crisis can be defined as a major event or a cascade of smaller events that cause chaos in the business’s operations. In most cases, it occurs suddenly and can bring certain fundamental processes to a halt. If you’re well-prepared, navigating a major crisis in your business can be easier and less frustrating. However, this may only occur if you have a reliable crisis management plan in place. In this piece, we explore a few crucial pointers on how to go about creating a crisis management plan for your business.
Evaluate the Risks
As earlier mentioned, in business, you should expect to encounter major setbacks or events that can cause disturbance to your business. This helps you to develop counteractive measures. To do this, you can start by involving your team to identify probable threats and vulnerabilities at stake. For instance, COVID-19 has been a major setback for many businesses recently, and entrepreneurs are identifying ways to deal with it. Like the companies that do not offer essential services, they can create area networks that allow them to work from home in case of a similar pandemic. In this case, the services and operations will still be intact, and the only difference will be the location.
Gauge Your Preparedness
After identifying the risks, the next question to ask yourself is, “how fit are we to cope with a crisis”? Of course, the crisis hasn’t occurred yet at this point, and it can be really challenging to work using assumptions. In this case, a crisis simulation exercise can help to test your team in a crisis so you can gauge how prepared you are to deal with it if it happens. It is all about creating a crisis scenario and making it seem as realistic as possible to see how your team could handle it. This sort of ‘training’ can also help develop leadership skills, teamwork, and decision-making skills that may be needed in times of a crisis. It can also help create the confidence that your team and business are well prepared in the event of a business crisis.
Analyze the Impact on Business
When there is a reduction in business performance, a lot of assumptions are often made as to why the business is underperforming. The business should consider every angle of threat so that they can improve customer satisfaction. This can be achieved through conducting a business impact analysis, which can unearth various effects of business crisis; including:
Identify Contingency Measures
Now that possible risks and impacts have been identified, you want to have an action plan on how various crisis scenarios can be handled and resolved effectively. It’s also a question of who will be involved, what resources will be needed, and how each of your staff members can help. You may also need guidelines for each team or department on how they should tackle things or handle clients. For instance, the digital team handling social media pages should have a script, and so should the customer service team answering calls from customers. The logistics team should have a set of guidelines on how to tackle the relevant issues while the PR team will also need to develop ways to keep the image of the company intact.
Build the Scheme
Keep in mind that not all expositions will be from your internal team. You can as well get insights from outside parties who work closely with your business. Being in crisis does not exempt you from undertaking regulatory requirements from whatever department in your venture. You will still be expected to comply with the set regulations despite your crisis. It is upon you to develop a plan on how to meet them.
As humans, it is easier for an employee to panic and forget their roles in response to a crisis. It is thus advisable for the employer to train his team on the crisis management plan and provide all the relevant information effectively. Regular tests and rehearsals can help employees to master their roles in the case of a crisis. This not only boosts confidence, but it also helps the employee to understand their roles better.
Finally, crisis situations can be unpredictable and sometimes inevitable. Over time, your trained employees may leave the firm, and others may join. New technology may be implemented, and many transitions may occur. All these will call for an update in your system and a refresh in your implementation. This makes it important to revisit your crisis management plan from time to time.