Are there guides to surviving a business crisis?
When the times are good and our business is constantly growing, we tend not to take time to think of business risks and contingency plans. We rather enjoy the fruits of our labor, and the success we have. But smart entrepreneurs know that any business will face at one point or another some major crisis. Any activity and any business carry with them a degree of risks. It is our choice to plan and prepare for them as well. Ignoring them, and postponing any analysis or decisions will not solve a future problem we will face. We should use this time to get in shape to face any potential crisis our business is going to face.
Troubled times can worry anyone, and each individual can have different reactions to them. But successful entrepreneurs know any crisis will eventually end. Better yet, any crisis can open the doors to bigger opportunities. Why then ponder too much thinking of the negative aspects, or being paralyzed overthinking the potential business crisis you are going to face?
When managing our activity, a project, we know that a huge task, when broken into smaller tasks, becomes more manageable and less daunting. The same principle should apply when crafting your crisis management plan. There are various types of crisis a business can face, from large financial crises that affect the entire globe, or just specific industries, to the death of the CEO, key employees leaving, security breach, media scandal. And the list goes on. How do you respond to these?
During a crisis, there is no time for deep analysis, or long meetings. What is needed are swift and clear actions, and good and frequent communication. Your employees, your business partners and stakeholders will need to know from you what the status is, or what they need to do. It is best to be honest in your communication, and inspire trust to all your partners.
This would be a great opportunity to identify, engage and retain your best customers, those who are most loyal and drive the biggest sales to you. Focus your attention and efforts to them, and cut any unnecessary efforts to less productive partnerships.
In case you wanted to start a business, a business crisis such as a financial downturn or large scale crisis can be the best chance for you. Despite the gloomy feeling there are many opportunities for someone who knows how to take advantage of it.
During a crisis, people and businesses are trying to cut costs, so it will be less expensive for you to start a business now, or to grow your existing business. There will be less competition because many businesses that are unprepared will fold.
New stringent problems and time constraints can be your source to identify solutions to offer to your customers. Show why your service or your product is the best under these circumstances. I hope these few ideas will make you prepare to face any business crisis directly, and learn as much as possible from any crisis you navigate so next time you would be even better prepared. Surviving a nasty crisis can give you a useful mentality and skills needed for your long-term business success.