Businesses face this all the time: scandals, crises and accidents. When something happens that plasters you and your business on the front pages of a newspaper, or worse, across the internet, panic can set in and freeze you. By the time the crisis has passed, it’s all over and the damage is done. During a crisis, the most important thing to protect is not your assets but your reputation; assets can be recovered but a reputation takes time to rebuild. So here are some tips on how to manage a crisis in the business:
Have a Contingency Plan
No matter how small you feel your business is, have a contingency plan and acquaint all your employees with it. All it takes is one status or tweet from an employee to fan unconfirmed rumours of bankruptcy into a media frenzy, which in turn will see your stock prices crashing and so on. Decide what to do in case of an emergency and write it down in a plan, along with numbers of who to call and direct inquiries. Say you run a small restaurant in Melbourne and someone takes ill from food poisoning; the authorities will close your restaurant but you have to pay your employees anyway. A contingency plan would be forewarning them that they will go on half wages in such an event, or drawing from a current account while boosting it later with a fixed deposit you’ve had the foresight to open six months prior.
Hire Professionals to Handle Your Reputation
If you’re a private nursing home in Sydney and you’re hit by a lawsuit from angry relatives claiming some kind of malfeasance suit, the best thing to do is hire a public relations agency in Sydney that is experienced at handling the media and press in order to minimize the damage done to your reputation.
Businesses that offer a service vs. a product depend on the integrity of their reputation so any stain will only serve to drive clients away. A public relations agency in Sydney will help in writing press releases, decide who to appoint as press coordinator, prepare any disclosures if necessary and basically arrange a game plan to recover from the accusations.
Have Informed Employees
Many companies do fire drills, but few do drills for handling crises, possibly because no one expects it to happen till it does. But it is important for every member of your business, from the CEO to the janitor to know what to do, where to be and more importantly, what not to do in times of crisis. If you have a ban on leaking any kind of info, make sure your employees know and understand the importance of sticking to that rule. In this day and age, sharing a secret can be tempting so take steps to stem such impulses by having drills that emphasize the necessity of working together to ride the wave.