When Trouble Strikes:
A Small Business Crisis Planner
When it comes to facing a crisis in your business, you need to remember that it’s a matter of when, not if. A crisis can strike any time, from the “big one” that geologists say will hit us one day in the Pacific Northwest to something as simple as a disgruntled employee who is skimming away all your profits, a dollar at a time. In between these two extremes are literally dozens of events that can impact your business at any moment. Some will be mere bumps in the road. Others – like a global pandemic – can shake your business to its very core.
The good news is, you can reduce the chance a crisis will occur or reduce its impact with a little planning and some practice. And that is the goal of this online guide, to teach you how to identify potential crises, put measures in place to either prevent them or at least minimize their impact and move safely to the other side where you can return to normal, or at the very least, a new normal.
Rolling the dice is dangerous.
Crisis management isn’t rocket science, but it is a science in many respects. It is also something of an art, largely because no two events are alike. By understanding the process, however, you can follow proven steps to manage any crisis from start to finish with confidence. What’s more, you can create a very simple crisis plan for your business that allows you to significantly reduce the guesswork, providing clarity even when all hell is breaking loose around you.
The old adage, “don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today” seems to have been created specifically for the crisis world. The simple truth is, a disaster could strike today, tomorrow or next week. Sure, you can roll the dice and hope one won’t strike for years or even decades, but is all the sweat and hard work you’ve put into your business really worth a lucky roll?
It’s not a matter of if, but when.
True, a crisis may not strike for years, lulling you into a false sense of security. But the truth is, a crisis in your business can strike at any time, even if it’s as simple as an employee robbing you blind or the Russian Mafioso hacking into your data and holding it for ransom. It can happen to the best of us. Just ask the folks at Target, Home Depot or UPS who have all faced a serious crisis in recent years.
The recent news cycles alone should convince you that it’s time to do some groundwork. Record heat, 100-year floods and devastating tornados are making headlines across the country and the world, and we won’t even mention things like melting ice caps and climate change which will have long-term, unexpected effects on coastal businesses and agriculture.
Yes, a well-conceived crisis plan does take time and effort. But the numbers are hard to argue with. The hard and soft dollar cost of planning and preparing is a drop in the bucket compared to a major crisis striking your company, testing your ability to weather a given crisis and come out on the other side relatively unscathed.
Table of Contents
2. Why You Need to Plan Now!
3. The Four Stages of a Crisis
4. Assessing Impacts
5. Assessing Probabilities
6. Putting It All Together
7. Plotting the Results
8. Rinse & Repeat
9. Developing an Effective Plan
10. Plan Components
11. Crisis Response Modules
12. Decision Trees
13. Resuming Operations
15. Templates & Resources