Being ready for any type of crisis can help your business weather the next storm that comes along. While the pandemic was unforeseeable, most other types can be prepared for in advance, enabling your business to survive. Creating a thorough crisis management plan to enable a quick and correct response is necessary for proper preparation. To do so, you will need to take the following steps.
1. Determine Your Risks
Knowing what the possible risks are that could prevent your business from operating normally is the starting place. In addition to natural disasters or fire, there are many possibilities that could cause business interruption. Among them, you should include cyber-attacks, data breaches, problems on social media or other public relations problems, the pandemic, robberies, lack of supplies, having to recall products, and more. The length of time that each may cause also needs to be calculated when possible.
2. Identify the Possible Damage to Your Company
Different types of crises will determine the damage that your company may experience. Some may be easily handled by one or two people, but others may be much more serious, involving the loss of income, reputation, or stopping the entire business completely for months at a time.
3. Figure Out the Best Course of Action in Each Situation
Having a course of action to follow for each type of crisis will enable a fast response to help minimize the damage – especially in the case of critical customers on social media. Knowing which department will handle the problem, as well as what should be said online (and what should not) will speed up your ability to present a workable solution even faster.
In more extreme emergencies, it is also necessary to understand which crises will impact your business the most. When there are multiple problems, handling them in the order of those with the greatest impact will be the best course of action.
4. Identify the Resources and Personnel Needed
Being able to know what resources and personnel are needed in each type of crisis will enable them to be mobilized faster. Your crisis management plan should include things such as the resources needed, the employees that can provide essential help (IT personnel, customer service, logistics, and more). Contact information needs to be added and the exact location of supplies must be included.
5. Ensure the Right People Know What to Do
After your crisis plan has been created, the people that will be responsible to implement their part when a crisis occurs need to know what to do. Each one should have a detailed plan identifying their role in fulfilling the plan, as well as knowing who to contact with phone numbers for help and where to get supplies. Each person in charge of a department needs to be very familiar with the plan. The plan will need to be adjusted often as people leave the company or change phone numbers.
6. Test and Revise
You will never know how complete your plan is – or even if it will work – if you do not test it. Testing can reveal weaknesses in the plan or things not included in it but should be. Once you see those weaknesses, they can be adjusted accordingly to ensure the fast recovery you want. Most likely, the plan will need adjusting, but only after testing and reviewing it carefully. The feasibility of the crisis management plan should be tested annually.