Putting the Right Kind of Crisis Plan in Place
BY TIFFINY FLAIM
In the best of times, owning and operating a business can be exciting, even thrilling. But when you’re faced with a challenge – not just running out of toner for the copier, but a full-blown crisis – do you have a plan in place to handle it? It’s important to anticipate and prepare before your company is in distress.
If you own and operate your own business, you should consider creating the following crisis plans:
Reputation Management Plan
Maybe it starts with a bad YELP review or negative publicity associated with your company. Before you know it, you could have a full-blown PR crisis on your hands. Knowing how you’ll handle it before it happens could mean the difference between staying in business or losing everything you’ve built.
Negative social media comments: Make sure to monitor your social media accounts, Google reviews or website comments daily. Always respond swiftly to negative testimonials and publicly work with customers to ensure a satisfactory resolution.
Misinformation: Is a competitor or customer spreading information about your company that is false and derogatory? Be proactive and make sure your company marketing, spec sheets and website are up to date with the most current and correct information.
Competitors misrepresenting your company: From making false claims about your company to copying patented materials or processes and passing them off as their own, you have rights. You can begin by contacting the competitor directly. If that doesn’t work, get in touch with an attorney who can draft a cease-and-desist letter. While lawsuits can be expensive and lengthy, they should not be ruled out entirely as your reputation is extremely important to your success.
What would you do if something unfortunate happened to an employee? What if there was a fire in your facility? Creating a safety plan minimizes risk and maximizes positive outcomes.
Be proactive: Adhere to all safety standards and immediately remedy any hazardous issues identified during a safety audit.
Appoint a Safety Representative: This person should be well-versed in all procedures and have completed safety and first aid training.
Compile a safety manual: The safety manual should outline procedures and designate who will provide medical services and under what circumstances they should be contacted.
On-going safety training: Safety training for your employees ensures that everyone is knowledgeable about the correct use of tools and equipment.
Use safety equipment: This should include warning signs, fire extinguishers, hard hats, ventilators, and more. These items should be easily accessible and up to date.
Perform drills: Whether it’s for a fire or inclement weather, make sure your employees know how to respond to a threat.
What would happen to your company if something happened to one of your executive team, or even you? Prepare for this by developing a succession plan.
Consider life insurance: Insure top executives and name the company as beneficiary. This will help with financial issues the company may face.
Critical information: Financial information, tax and banking information, yes, even passwords should not be under the control of just one individual. Not long ago, the CEO of a crypto exchange company died, without ever having shared his passwords with anyone. The result? Company funds totally $190 million were completely inaccessible.
Determine chain of command: Who will succeed top executives in the event of an extended illness or death? Determine chain of command to avoid internal struggles.
Engage with grief counselors: The loss of a company executive can be extremely traumatic for employees who may struggle not only with a personal loss, but also feelings of uncertainty about their own future.
Information Management Plan
We are all dependent upon our computers and our data systems. What would happen to your business if they failed? An Information Management Plan can help you navigate that frightening possibility.
Calculate the cost of downtime: How long can your company survive without essential data – customer contact information, billing, receivables, inventory, payroll, etc.? If you discover you can’t be without your data before your company is in huge trouble, you can appreciate the value in having a disaster recovery plan.
Develop a backup and disaster recovery plan: In the event of a system outage, power surge, fire or any other potential disaster that could wipe out your company’s important data, a backup and disaster recovery plan can ensure that business will go on as usual.
Test your system regularly: Testing your backup plan and disaster recovery plan ensures that neither it nor the backups have been corrupted.
Tiffiny Flaim, BIOFOAM SPFA President