No matter how strong our business plans, at some point we are going to run into a problem. Often this will be something that wasn’t of our creation, such as a recession or even the recent COVID-19 pandemic. We can’t get through life without hitting a little turbulence on the way, but we can control the severity of impact if we are prepared.
Regular crisis planning can help your business to avoid tricky situations and will prepare you for anything that crops up. The military uses a great strategy called the War Room Technique. Essentially they sit down in one room with all the critical personnel in the business. They discuss all possible threats and then work through all the potential outcomes. They then create a plan for each and every one of these. It can take some time, but the results will leave you with a set of solutions and actions, regardless of the situation.
If you have a small business, then you could outsource to help you highlight any potential issues. Look at IT support companies, specialist business accountants and PR consultants. These people can come to your business annually and work through all the areas of your yearly business plan that could be an issue.
For IT, you could utilise the experience of an ethical hacker. This is someone who operates like a criminal hacker, but they are on your side. Their job is to expose any issues within your online setup. They will find weaknesses and then come back to you with a report to show you what they were able to access and how. They can then work with an IT company to reduce your risk and help you stay one step ahead of any cyberattacks.
A PR consultant will run through your marketing plans for the next year and help you create a PR crisis plan. This will include a list of questions that could be asked of your company in the event of a crisis. Having this list pre-prepared with answers allows all of your key staff to speak in the same voice. It will help you to overcome any tricky media or consumer enquiries regardless of the crisis.
Finances are essential for your company, so speaking to your accounts team or outsourcing an independent business accountant could help you prepare for any unforeseen issues. Many businesses invest profits back into the company or into assets. This is great for growth, but in the event of a crisis can be a mistake. Your business should always have accessible savings to help secure the company in the event of an unexpected situation. Be this a cyber attack which takes you offline, a pandemic which causes you to close, a fire on your premises or even ill-health.
Building a strong crisis plan and reviewing it annually will help ensure you are prepared for anything that life throws at you, even through unprecedented times or unchartered waters.
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