The world of business is an unforgiving one where one wrong decision can make the whole world fall on top of you with very little chance of getting out under it. Running a business is a very sensitive task and even if you do absolutely everything right and make no mistakes (which is near impossible, anyway), this does not guarantee that you will not experience a crisis that might seriously endanger your entire operation.
When such a time comes (and chances are it will, especially if you have been running it for some time), you need to know how to handle such a crisis, how to control the damage and how to get your business out of the bind as quickly and as efficiently as possible. We would like to share some tips and advice on how to do this.
Know the Cause
When we’re saying that you should know the cause, we mean that you should really KNOW it. Do not think that it might be the cause. Do not suspect it might be the cause. Know what the cause is. Spend time investigating and analyzing your past performance and the performance of your business. If it is a mistake that you yourself made, do not be too proud to acknowledge it.
Knowing the exact cause of the crisis is the first step in handling it. In most cases, identifying the cause will also give you a ton of ideas on how to solve the crisis. Furthermore, when you do this, you will be ensuring that future does not hold any other surprises of the same kind.
Formulate a Plan
The next step in handling your business crisis is formulating a plan that will be as comprehensive as possible. When making the plan, you will start from the cause (that you have identified). The next thing is to brainstorm all the possible solutions and ways to mitigate the crisis. You will also factor in the skills of your employees and the expertise that your business has on a more general level. In addition, you should make a timetable of your future undertakings aimed at resolving the crisis.
In short, anything you can think of that has to do with the crisis itself and your business should be factored in when formulating this plan in order to maximize your chances.
Put Plan in Action
Once you have made sure you have the best possible plan that you could hope for, it is time for you to start putting it to action. Tell everyone what their responsibilities and tasks are and how they need to approach their part of the job. Ensure that everyone is on the same page, that everyone understands everything and that everything is applying themselves to mitigate the crisis. Tell them to ask questions if they are not sure. Tell them to come forward if they have a better idea on how to do a certain part of crisis management. This is no time for vanity or pride. Everyone is in the same boat and it is essential that everyone is rowing as hard as they can.
Change the Paradigm
In many cases, the business crisis at hand will not be manageable without making some truly huge changes to how you run your business. You might say that you will need to change the entire business paradigm that you stuck to for years or even decades. For example, if a new competitor rolls in with prices you just cannot match, you might need to think about outsourcing. If it seems that bankruptcy might be knocking on your door (hopefully it will not), you might consider employing insolvency software of some kind. Sometimes, the best decision might be relocating your business. You need solutions and sometimes they will need to be paradigm-shifting.
Analyze your Success
After some time has passed, it will become clear if you managed to handle the crisis and how successful you have been at doing it. After some time, doing the same over and over again hoping for different results will be absolutely pointless and you need to stop and check the list of casualties. It is absolutely necessary that you are honest with yourself when doing this. If you notice something that could have been done better, make a note of it. Make sure that everyone has done their share and that there was nothing else that you could have done. If not for now, then for the future.
Handling a crisis is a very sensitive process that requires all of your attention and expertise. With a good plan in place that has been formulated by proper analysis and with an efficient management of your resources, you should be able to handle any crisis. If it turns out the crisis was too much, at least you will know that you have done everything you could.
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