One of the most devastating ordeals of your business career may be guiding your company through a serious crisis, such as a hurricane or terrorist attack. When a business suffers a crisis, the thought on employees’ minds is, “Do I still have a job?” In addition, this is the time when your customers will consider taking their business elsewhere, especially if the emergency is local and you have customers all over the country.
This four-step action plan will help your company weather the storm and emerge from the crisis stronger than before. Don’t wait until a crisis occurs to make preparations: do these steps now so that if an emergency happens, you can immediately swing into action.
- Identify your business’ key revenue-generating operations. Prioritize the key operations, starting with those that you cannot survive without. Put non-revenue generating operations on hold until the crisis has passed.
- Strip the key operations down to their essential functions. Figure out how to get the same tasks done without all the frills. For example, you may need to perform certain tasks without the aid of computers. Rather than floundering about, create a step-by-step plan for taking orders and creating invoices with paper and pen. You will lose efficiency, but if you continue to perform key operations your chances of keeping the business running are high.
- Provide an alternate to office space. If you are forced to evacuate your office or factory, it will be challenging to find alternative space from which to conduct business. Make sure you plan ahead by having a space prepared, whether it be someone’s home or a town hall.
- Create an employee assistance program. Have a plan for employees to be able to travel to the alternative work space or to work from home. Help employees deal with the emotional fall-out by providing on-site trauma counseling. Be open with your employees about the nature of the situation, as you will all need to pull together to overcome the crisis.
Share this four-step plan with your employees and create a task force for finalizing and documenting the details of the plan. If employees know that you’re prepared for anything, they won’t be as likely to panic if a crisis occurs. With preparation and a confident mindset, your business can survive a crisis.