Regardless of how profitable your company is or how well-developed its business model may be, it is always susceptible to crises of any magnitude.
To ensure that your business can survive even the most devastating crisis, it is important for you to have a strong crisis management plan in place. In this article, we will look at some of the necessary approaches you should take when crafting your crisis management plan.
What Is a Crisis Management Plan?
A crisis management plan is a document that lays out the strategies that a company should implement when faced with any sort of event or situation that could hamper its ability to effectively function.
What sort of crises do businesses generally deal with? A crisis could be as serious as a natural disaster or it could be as relatively harmless as a social media blunder. It could be an act of nature, or it could be a human-caused error. It is up to you to prepare for any and all potential incidents and to implement the most effective strategies.
Assessing the Crisis and Determining Its Impact
During the crisis assessment phase, you should lay out all of the likely risks that your company could be faced with at any given time. Gather a qualified team together and compile a thorough crises list. Could your computing systems be open to data breaches or cyber attacks? Are you in an area where earthquakes are common? Do you have any employees who, for whatever reason, could present a threat to the reputation of your company?
Once you lay out all probable crises, you want to determine the likelihood of every crisis happening as well as the impact that it could have on your business. Depending on what the specific crisis is, customers may leave you for a competitor, you may experience a loss of sales or income, you may have increased expenses, or your business as a whole may even be at peril. Prioritizing crises will define how you implement your contingency plans going forward.
Coming up with the Proper Contingency Plans
Each particular crisis should have its own contingency plan, and when constructing each plan, you will want to make sure you are working with the appropriate people to guarantee that you are only being presented with the most workable solutions possible.
For example, if you are dealing with a product recall, then you will probably need to rely on your IT and logistics departments to fix the specific product issue, while sales, customer service, and public relations employees will deal with things from a customer standpoint to make sure that any ensuing problems on that end are mitigated. On the other hand, if you are dealing with a regulatory issue, you will want to have lawyers or any other regulation experts on call to help you avoid any substantial fines or penalties.
Effective collaboration between departments is crucial in establishing proper crisis contingency plans.
Ensuring That the Proper Parties Are Familiar with Your Plan
You could have all of the necessary aspects of your crisis management plan in place, but if these aspects are not effectively communicated to all of the necessary parties within your company, your crisis plan could essentially be rendered worthless.
Effective distribution of your crisis plan is one of the best methods to alleviate the widespread panic associated with an impending crisis, and it is also an important way to ensure that everyone knows what is going on if or when such an incident occurs. Sure, you could print out the plan and distribute hard copies, but perhaps consider a more efficient method, such as a crisis management app. Such an app could provide the appropriate parties with easy access to contact lists, up-to-date documents, incident reporting, and a host of other features.
Also, you will want to consistently go over the crisis plan with the appropriate people in your business to make sure that they are intimately familiar with it. Have regular read-throughs and make sure that everyone knows their role. Leave no question unanswered. In the event that a crisis occurs, everyone should be able to spring right into action mode.
Consistently Revisit and Fine-tune Your Crisis Management Plan
The crisis management process has a lot of moving pieces, but with the proper focus and determination, it does not have to be as daunting of an enterprise as it sounds.
It is important to do anything and everything you can to stay on top of all potential crises. Research new crisis management trends. Hone your planning and analysis skills. Communicate effectively with employees and any relevant experts. Establish efficient channels of communication with customers and stakeholders. Consult with other business owners and managers to see what their crisis management plans look like.
Staying as transparent and thorough as possible when dealing with crisis management is absolutely crucial to making sure that your business stays afloat in the midst of anything that comes its way.