Five Steps To Take When A Crisis Hits Your Business

By: Rhett Buttle

The great heavyweight champion Joe Louis once said, “Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.” As a business owner, preparation for a crisis is crucial. Yet, crises still come without warning and it is important to act fast once they do. The pandemic was an example of why it’s pertinent to have plans set up in case of a crisis and showed us what it looks like when plans fail. Here are five critical actions that you can take as a business owner to help prepare for a potential crisis.

1. Clearly communicate with your employees and customers

Establish protocols to navigate the crisis and communicate to your employees and customers how they are being put in place. Also, reassure your staff and implement the plans you have laid out. It is helpful to have something created in advance, like a crisis handbook, that you can use to maintain calm.

2. Establish an online presence for your business

Make sure you have taken the steps to ensure your digital presence is strong and that your website is ready to handle an uptick in traffic. Have a plan to continue and grow your marketing presence online even though adjusting in-person operations to the crisis may be dominating your attention.

3. Do not be afraid to pivot

There may be the possibility that you cannot do business as you have normally done, and you may want to pivot to offering new products, strategies, or service. If you decide to pivot, be sure to take the time to communicate your change to your community and staff. Engage with other small business owners in your community to learn how they are shifting and share best practices and ideas on how your community can move forward together. In addition, do not be afraid to pivot more than once. Oftentimes, it takes running through a few ideas to find one that works best.

4. Seek financial support if needed

Be prepared to seek financial support early on if you have any inkling that your business will not be able to make it through an extended crisis. Reconnect with your lenders and financial institutions to make sure you’ve evaluated the options best suited for you to take. Reach out to other small business owners in your community to discuss financial tools and resources that they have found helpful. Additionally, utilize community resources like local chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, and regional SBA Offices.

5. Protect your assets, valuables, and your employees

Ensure that you can operate your business without putting yourself or your employees in harm’s way. Also, make sure any valuables or assets are safe, including any stored data on computer hardware and devices.

Once you have weathered the crisis, it is time to let everyone know you are up and running.

When the time comes to officially reopen, consider holding a grand opening event and offer incentives for getting customers back in the door. Generating excitement and a return to normalcy will surely be great for yourself and your business, but also for your employees and customers.

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