Louise Oliver
Crisis Management.png

Erin Vogt, account supervisor | Published by Peritus PR

When an emergency occurs, the need to communicate is immediate. Often, when there is an urgent situation, business owners find themselves panicking — making rash decisions on who needs to be communicated with and what the key messages are with minimal time for strategizing or critical thinking.

In our industry, we preach about how preparation is key — thinking through lead times and mapping out campaigns months in advance to achieve the greatest impact. A hurried plan is a flawed plan and we generate our best results through forward-thinking and, you guessed it, extensive preparation.

With widespread disaster recovery efforts occurring in Hurricane Harvey’s wake, and Hurricane Irma threatening South Florida, it’s important to reflect on what exactly a disaster means to a small business owner and how it impacts their livelihood. Almost 40 percent of small businesses will not reopen following a disaster. Despite this statistic, 68 percent of small business owners still don’t have a written disaster plan. We have witnessed countless examples of mismanaged crises splashed across headlines and, for this reason, firmly believe every company needs a plan in place — whether a large corporate office with multiple branch locations, a mid-sized business with remote employees or even a one-man shop.

Crisis preparedness is paramount to ensure small businesses survive interruptions.

While it may seem like a monumental undertaking, the best laid crisis plans are formed when business is good, employees are happy and skies are clear. This allows ample time to critically assess potential threats, before disaster ever strikes.

It’s not a matter of if a crisis will strike — it’s a matter of when. 

Keeping this in mind, there are three important steps every business owner should consider when developing crisis plans: 

  1. Brainstorm breakdowns. Every chink in your company’s armor must be explored, meaning any situation that could cause a business interruption — no matter how far-fetched — and written down.
  2. Produce plans. A step-by-step operational plan for each scenario ensures every team member innately knows what his or her role is in any given situation and how to respond according to your company values.
  3. Compose communications. When time is of the essence, pre-drafted messaging for internal and external audiences will allow you to respond quickly, reassuring your customers and employees, and protecting your reputation.

Whether you’re a business owner or not, get the conversation started within your organization to prevent potential issues, and while this particular PUBLISHED by Peritus PR post addresses the topic of crisis preparedness, it’s important you leave with this…

…take time to reflect on those whose family, friends and businesses have been affected by Hurricane Harvey, and those who will soon be impacted by Hurricane Irma. Recovery support opportunities are endless, whether it’s donating to Red Cross, adopting a classroom, dropping off supplies to local donation sites, or offering to house evacuating friends or family. Any relief effort, no matter how small, can help restore hope.

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