Monday, August 13, 2012

“It will never happen here…”

imageThis article was written by Robin Noah, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor

Crisis management, small business failure, business turnaround, and other similar terms are not popular topics in the business world. Terms such as these rank very low on the search engine popularity lists. Failure to thrive is something that few business owners, small or large, want to talk about.

Consider that business failure statistics tell us that over 5 million businesses shut down every year; most of these because they did not include crisis management in their business planning – addressing safety issues or other areas of concern specific to their industry..

Part of crisis management is preparing for things that we hope will never happen. One of the worst possibilities is an employee or a customer becoming violent. The thought of this happening is almost too terrible to imagine, but you need to be prepared.

David Deakins, director of Massey University's Centre for Small and Medium Enterprise Research found that a company’s vulnerability increased if a crisis was caused by natural disaster, rather than an internal issue. The survey also found that a written plan did not necessarily make the company more resilient, experience in dealing with the consequences of a crisis was more important.

Having a plan to manage disaster and crisis will identify those areas or occurrences where planned action is the best approach. No company is too small for a crisis. From bankruptcy to disgruntled customers or employees seeking revenge, even the smaller companies should be prepared to handle and manage a crisis.

Your best bet is to develop a crisis management plan that includes emergency notification procedures, assessment of the immediate safety of the workplace, proper notification to those in danger, process for investigation of the incident, resources, handling the media and other situations that are exclusive to your company.

The company should also have continuity plans that in addition to crisis and disasters identifies threats and impacts and ensures that the company is able to withstand the disruption that a full-fledged crisis can inflict.

Don’t wait, don’t hesitate. Plan the best strategy that can get you out of a crisis… and …be well prepared for any unforeseen event that may come your way.