02 November 2016

A hallmark of a great business owner is the capacity to handle a crisis the right way

No company has ever eluded a predicament that if not resolved can potentially alter the fate of the entire business. When you perform actions to reach your goals, not everything will go as planned all of the time, so as a business owner you need to have the skills and the proper mindset to take on hurdles along the way.

Remember that solving a crisis is not your sole responsibility; you need to get your people involved to execute the resolution. That’s why it’s not just about coming up with an answer, but it’s also about how you get the right people to work on it.

Here are several important things to keep in mind when dealing with an inevitable business crunch:

Plan ahead

Create a written plan that includes specific actions that will be taken in the event of a crisis. If you’re very confident about the business objectives you’ve set, then you should also be aware of what could happen if things go awry. Identify those possible scenarios and lay out a clear set of protocols should they arise.

Crisis management plans may not be tailor-fit to the actual situation, but at least you have something with a structure to work with, which is better than not having a counteraction at all.

Don’t keep your people in the dark

During a crisis, you wouldn’t want to keep it all by yourself and act like nothing’s wrong in front of everybody.  Maintaining an informed workforce helps ensure that operations continue to flow as smoothly as possible even with an issue going on. It also minimises the internal rumour mill that may lead to employees posting false reports on social media.

Transparency must be projected through all communications channels so everyone is up-to-date. But be careful; you also don’t want to create panic among your people. Limit the information to only what’s necessary, and leave the specific details those directly concerned.

Work with what you have

People tend to get caught up with all the disorder during a crisis that they lose control and get lost in the process. As a business owner, your goal is to put a stop to the bleeding and work on a fast resolution. Don’t stress yourself out on things that cannot be done at the moment. Make use of the information and resources that are available.

Communicate with parties outside your company

You do not want your loyal customers and suppliers to learn about your crisis from other sources aside from yourself. Information on any crisis pertaining to your business should come from you first. Part of the crisis plan must include customers and suppliers and how they will be regularly updated, especially if the crisis directly affects them and certain relationships between parties. You may leverage social media to communicate with concerned sectors, but tread lightly.

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